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U.S Postpones Iraq Resolution Seeking More Support

U.N. Iraq Resolution Vote Postponed in Hopes of Winning Greater Support

Envoys say final amendments well received

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- After receiving indications of wider acceptance for their proposed resolution on Iraq, the United States and three co-sponsors introduced a final set of amendments October 15 and agreed to postpone a vote on the draft for 14 hours.

Emerging from a closed door meeting, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte announced that "I can safely say we see a positive movement towards greater consensus in the council on the basis of the United States text and we look forward to tomorrow's vote which will take place at 10 o'clock in the morning."

The postponement came after the United States and co-sponsors Cameroon, Spain and the United Kingdom introduced three amendments designed to answer the concerns of other delegations -- especially Russia, France, and Germany -- about some provisions in the text.

The three countries asked for the delay so that their heads of state could confer on the new text and give voting instructions to their U.N. representatives.

"With a subject as difficult and complicated and important as Iraq we certainly wanted to make our best efforts to take into account the comments of the various delegations and various countries," Negroponte said.

"Without doing violence to the underlying principles of the draft resolution, I think a major effort has been made by ourselves and the other co-sponsors to take into account the comments that we have heard from other delegations," he said.

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"I think it proves we have been listening. We understand the importance of passing a resolution with as strong a statement of consensus on the part of the council as possible," the U.S. ambassador said.

Nevertheless, Negroponte said, the resolution cannot address every eventuality that might occur in Iraq.

"This is a broad framework designed to show international support for Iraq in the political, economic, and military areas. We can't anticipate every single detail but we think this is a good framework. We think it deserves strong support from the council members," he said.

The draft resolution invites the Iraqi Governing Council to provide to the Security Council by December 15 a timetable and program for the drafting of a new constitution and holding elections. It asks U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to ensure that the resources of the U.N. and associated organizations are available if requested by the Iraqi Governing Council to help with the constitutional process and elections and asks that the secretary general pursue the course of action for the United Nations that he outlined in his July 2003 report to the council "as circumstances permit."

The text also authorizes a multinational force (MNF) under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq and security for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq.

Negroponte said that some of the amendments have to do with clarifying the role of the United Nations and the multinational force.

The co-sponsors felt it was necessary to make clear that Secretary General Kofi Annan and his special representative in Iraq "had greater scope for action," the ambassador said. "There was an interpretation of one paragraph by some of the delegations to the effect that they felt we were limiting the secretary general's role in some way and that correction has been made."

Another amendment "makes it clearer what the circumstances of how the MNF might be terminated and under what conditions it could be renewed once there is an elected representative government of Iraq," Negroponte said.

British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry added that "the text now in final form on the table is one that has been well received by colleagues. Our honest hope is that now the international community can come together and demonstrate very clearly that we are in the business of transferring authority as soon as possible more and more to the Iraqis, that the international community is committed to actually sustaining and actually developing the sort of Iraq that the Iraqis are entitled to have, and that we have provided the means by which the secretary general will be able to implement this resolution as and when the conditions permit."

"If a pause means we are more likely to move toward a consensus in the council then the pause is justified," Jones Parry said. "We hope we have an outcome that the people of Iraq are entitled to have and which will demonstrate the commitment of the international community as a whole and the United Nations to sustain the good news of what is happening in Iraq today."

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