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UN supports Iraqis to regain national sovereignty

Annan pledges full UN support in helping Iraqis regain national sovereignty

Once again stressing the "indispensable" need for Security Council unity in order to maintain peace, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today the world body would use the role granted it by a new resolution on interim arrangements in Iraq to ensure that the Iraqi people regain full national sovereignty as soon as possible.

"Whatever differences there have been in the recent past, we now have a new basis on which to work. And we must all work very hard, keeping the interests of Iraqis at the forefront of all our efforts," Mr. Annan told the Council after it had adopted a resolution granting wide interim governing powers to the United States and its coalition partners and included a role for a UN Special Representative to work with this interim authority.

Noting that the mandate given the UN involved complex and difficult tasks, Mr. Annan declared: "Our most important task will be to ensure that the people of Iraq - men and women alike - are able, as soon as possible, through a transparent and impartially managed political process, to form a free and representative government of their own choice, so that they can regain their national sovereignty and build a stable and prosperous Iraq, at peace with its neighbours."

Saying he would name "without delay" the Special Representative, for whom he requested full Council support, Mr. Annan told the 15-member body: "The United Nations will play its full part in this international effort."

Asked by reporters afterward about the resolution, the Secretary-General said it gave a role to the UN, in which it would work with the occupying power and the Iraqi people. "The resolution gives the international community a legal basis for its activities in Iraq," he added.

Calling the resolution "the product of a compromise" that the UN would work with, Mr. Annan said all sides were now looking forward to find ways to support the Iraqi people.

He said he was not in a position to name a Special Representative now, but added that the Representative would go to Iraq as soon as practicable.


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