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UN Security Council to Consider Revised Iraq Resolution - 2004-06-08

The United States and Britain have submitted a fourth draft of a Security Council resolution on Iraq, and asked for a vote on Tuesday. Several minor revisions appear to have won over the last few holdouts, paving the way for unanimous approval of the measure.

The Security Council hammered out final details of the resolution in a closed session Monday evening. Several countries, among them France and Germany, had expressed concern that earlier drafts had not gone far enough in ensuring that Iraq's interim government will enjoy full sovereignty, including control over operations of foreign troops that will remain in the country for some time to come.

But as he emerged from Monday's session, German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said he was satisfied with changes in the resolution that U.S. and British sponsors had offered.

"I think we have reached a stage where the resolution has a very good text. Of course in the end you have to find a compromise, but my feeling is we have found a compromise," he said.

French ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who had voiced strong objection to earlier drafts, said he too was optimistic that a consensus could be achieved. "I think things are going in the right direction," he said.

One key to the compromise was an addition to the paragraph in the resolution that addresses the sovereignty issue. The sponsors had earlier attached a series of letters between U.S. and Iraqi officials that spell out the extent to which Iraqis will be able to control the activities of the multinational force.

But the final version has added language that would, in the words of the resolution, "ensure full partnership between Iraqi forces and the MNF, through close coordination and consultation."

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte came out of the negotiating session expressing confidence that the adjustments had won over the final holdouts among the council.

"Our position was that the letters speak for themselves. They express respect for sovereignty and indicate relations between the interim government and the MNF was one of partnership. A number of delegations thought some of the letters ought to be included, and this language represents an effort to take those concerns into account, they are a summary iteration of what those letters say," he said.

The new resolution also reaffirms the right of Iraqis to determine their own political future and exercise full control over their financial and natural resources.

Agreement on the text was reached after the council heard from U.N. Special envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi. The U.N. envoy said he was encouraged by news that Iraq's prime minister had reached agreement on dissolving some of the country's armed militias.

Mr. Brahimi also urged coalition authorities to act quickly to free all detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison unless it can be proven the detainees deserve to be held. He said Iraqis had been traumatized by pictures of prisoner mistreatment, and called on the coalition to give assurances such abuses would not happen again.