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Straw seeks to strengthen UN role in Iraq


Straw seeks to strengthen UN role in Iraq

The UK and US are drafting a new resolution to strengthen the UN's role in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said. In a television interview Mr Straw also blamed terrorist groups for trying to undermine Iraq's security and stability.

The Foreign Secretary said he is working with the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on the drafting of a new resolution. The resolution will aim to deepen and strengthen the United Nations' (UN) mandate in Iraq for the political process, and the military presence. He said this would be done in a way that is consistent with the security needs of the country.

Mr Straw said:

"What I think from very long experience of this is that there is a mood in the international community by which we will be able to achieve a consensus within the United Nations.

"Everybody accepts, I think, that the United States and the United Kingdom have to have a unified military command. Everybody recognises too that the security situation is already internationalised because 17 countries are providing troops on the ground in Iraq, altogether including that 17, 30 have pledged to do so. But we want to see whether we can strengthen the UN mandate there."

He said that there have been significant improvements have been made in the past few months.

"All 240 hospitals are working in Iraq, they're properly stocked with drugs, I think most of them have got a far better supply of drugs than they had pre the end of the war, than they had during the Saddam period," he said.

The schools and universities are operating, he said. He added that there have been no significant food shortages.

"What the terrorists are trying to do obviously, is to destroy that and that requires both a security and a political response by the US, UK and by the international community."


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