The U.N. Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution restoring Iraq's sovereignty as of July 1. The measure gives U.S.-led military forces a mandate to provide security in Iraq through the end of next year.
After weeks of delicate negotiations capped by last-minute amendments, passage of the resolution was accomplished in minutes, without a word of dissent. The Security Council president, Philippine Ambassador Lauro Baja, counted the votes.
"The result of the voting is as follows. The draft resolution received 15 votes in favor. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously," he said.
The consensus approval is a diplomatic triumph for co-sponsors Britain and the United States, who revised the resolution four times in answer to concerns voiced by other Council members.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte called the vote a milestone.
"The unanimous passage of Resolution 1546 is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for, and I quote from the text, 'a federal, democratic, pluralist and unified Iraq in which there is full respect for political and human rights,'" he said.
The final draft includes numerous assurances of Iraq's full sovereignty, and says Iraqi and Multinational Forces (MNF) officials will coordinate on sensitive military operations.
But it stops short of giving Iraq a veto over military offensives, as France, Germany and other Council members had wanted. Instead, the resolution includes an attached exchange of letters between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi which authorizes the MNF to take what are called "all necessary measures" to defend themselves.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the Security Council's unanimity, and called the resolution "good in itself."
"I believe it is a genuine expression of the will of the international community, led by the Security Council, to come together after last year's divisions and to help the Iraqi people take charge of their own political destiny, in peace and freedom, under a sovereign government of their choosing," he said.
Mr. Annan said he was monitoring security conditions in Iraq closely with an eye to re-committing large numbers of U.N. international staff to assist in Iraq's transition process.
He also expressed hope that passage of the resolution would encourage further troop contributions to the U.S. led multinational force.
"We are in discussions with the multinational force and several countries who have been approached to make forces available," he said. "I hesitate to give you a number, a brigade or several battalions or whatever, but it will be under one command."
Full agreement on the text of the resolution was reached only Monday evening after a French-German amendment was added, spelling out the relationship between Iraqi forces and the U.S. led multinational security force.
In their statements following passage, both French and German ambassadors thanked the U.S. and British sponsors for taking account of their views, thereby avoiding any confrontation.