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Coalition Hails UN Involvement In Iraq's Future

Coalition Officials Hail Growing UN Involvement In Iraq's Political Future

The Ambassadors of the United States and the United Kingdom today told the Security Council that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) welcomes the growing role of the United Nations in helping Iraq to determine its political future. Briefing on the latest developments in the country, Ambassador John D. Negroponte welcomed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report on a recent fact-finding mission analyzing the feasibility of elections, noting its conclusion that polling could not be organized by 30 June - "the date by which all agree that the transfer of sovereignty should take place."

Echoing the Secretary-General's report, he said resolving the question of the timing of elections provides an opportunity for Iraqis and the CPA to engage in a dialogue on the mechanism for transferring sovereignty. The CPA, the Iraqi people, the Governing Council and the UN will work together to reach agreement on a transition mechanism for the handover, he said.

"We look forward to further consideration of the team's report and the continued engagement of the United Nations in the political process ahead," he emphasized.

Reviewing other developments, Mr. Negroponte noted that, "After decades of oppression, we see the Iraqi people asserting their own vision for Iraq by assuming greater responsibility for security, by managing their natural resources for the benefit of all, and by taking the first steps towards representative democracy."

At the same time, he cautioned that difficult challenges remain, including insecurity fomented by "former regime loyalists, foreign fighters and hardened international terrorists." But the Iraqi people and their supporters "will triumph in the effort to open a new chapter in their proud history."

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom joined in welcoming the help being offered by the UN and its agencies for Iraq's reconstruction. "We also very much value the contribution that the UN is now making to the political process, most recently through the report of the UN fact-finding mission led by [Special Advisor] Lakhdar Brahimi," he said.

"We welcome the United Nations' offer to help with consensus building as well as with the preparation for subsequent elections," he added. "We want to see a strong and growing United Nations role."

"We hope that the coming weeks and months will bring continued and enhanced UN engagement," he stressed.

About a dozen participants took part in the debate which followed, with many underscoring the need to adhere to the 30 June date and voicing support for an expanded UN role in the political arena. A number of speakers cited the credibility that the UN carries as vital to this endeavour. At the same time, it was noted that the UN would need a clear mandate and a secure environment to operate effectively in Iraq.

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