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Iraq resolution making progress

Iraq resolution making progress

A United Nations Security Council resolution on the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq is expected soon, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has told MPs.

Authority will transfer from the UK and US to the Iraqi government on 30 June and the resolution will set out the status of the multinational force and its relationship to Iraq's security forces.

The new resolution will mean that the mandate of the multinational force will expire by 31 December 2005, but the Iraqi government will have a right to review or terminate it earlier.

The Security Council has been discussing the resolution over the weekend and a revised draft text is being sent to members today.

Mr Straw also said that the United Nations will advise on the organisation of elections to be held by the end of January 2005.

"The biggest challenge which the new Government of Iraq will face is to build security," he said.

"There will be those who will continue to seek to disrupt the transition to successful democracy in Iraq, and to force decisions by the bomb, not the ballot box. But the Iraqi Government is firmly resolved to defeat the men of violence; and we are resolved to help them to do so."

He paid tribute to the British troops, police and civilians who are working in Iraq.

"There will be some difficult times ahead, but the path to a free and democratic Iraq is now clear. The British Government will remain committed to helping the Iraqi Government and people to achieve that historic goal."

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