United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said today the new draft resolution on the future of Iraq is not a “major shift” from the previous one submitted by the United States, but he said that he was “grateful” that the framers had taken into account some of his suggestions.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Annan also said that the new language, in which the drafters specify that the coalition-appointed Iraqi Governing Council “embodies the sovereignty of the Iraqi State,” still leaves the power in the hands of the occupying powers, and warned that resistance to the occupation would continue.
The new draft, sponsored by Cameroon, Spain, United Kingdom and United States, for the first time provides a timetable for calling elections for self-government. It also increases security to enable the UN to “strengthen its vital role” in bringing about representative elections “as circumstances permit.”
Asked about the newly published version upon his arrival at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Annan said, “As you know, I have stated my views very clearly to the members of the Security Council over the last couple of weeks on the process in Iraq, including the constitutional and electoral aspects.
“Obviously, the current resolution does not represent a major shift in the thinking of the coalition,” he added. “However I am grateful that they have taken into view, into account, some of my preoccupations. And of course I will implement any resolution that the Council might adopt, bearing in mind the constraints that we are all aware of.”
Asked about language in the new draft which states that the Governing Council would embody the sovereignty of Iraq, the Secretary-General said, “It is a nice phrase, but the resolution also says that the occupying power is the authority, and is the government. So in my judgement, the occupying power is the government, will remain the government, whether this resolution is passed or not, until such time that power is fully handed over to the Iraqis. And I think the resolution recognizes that.”
Responding to a question about continuing bloodshed in the country, Mr. Annan said, “Well, I am on record as stating that, as long as there is occupation, the resistance will grow.”
As to a UN role in Iraq with security provided by the US-led multinational force, Mr. Annan said, “We…have a very difficult security situation which has compelled us to reduce our presence drastically. We are obviously monitoring it on a daily basis to see if there will be improvements that will allow us to gear up and carry on our mandate. I have indicated that given certain circumstances our role would be easier, and we will be able to do more. But I think I am grateful, as I said, to the drafters who have indicated that my role will kick in when the circumstances permit.”
To a question about a possible message sent by the Security Council if the resolution does not pass unanimously, the Secretary-General said: “I would hope that the drafters of the resolution will work as hard with the other members of the Council to get as broad support as possible, because I have always maintained that the Council is at its best, and has a greater impact, when it is united and comes up with a resolution that commands strong support. So, I would hope that the work will continue and that one will get broad support.”
The draft published today said the Secretary-General should be able to carry out the political, economic and humanitarian programs he recommended in a report to the Council on 17 July “as circumstances permit.”
The election clause asks the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council “to provide to the Security Council, no later than 15 December 2003, in cooperation with the [Coalition Provisional] Authority and, as circumstances permit, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, a timetable and a programme for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections under that constitution.”
The resolution also asks the United Nations, acting through the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), “should strengthen its vital role in Iraq, including by providing humanitarian relief, promoting the economic reconstruction of and conditions for sustainable development in Iraq, and advancing efforts to restore and establish national and local institutions for representative government.”
The text also authorizes a multinational force “under unified command to take all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq, including for the purpose of ensuring necessary conditions for the implementation of the timetable and programme as well as to contribute to the security of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, the Governing Council of Iraq and other institutions of the Iraqi interim administration, and key humanitarian and economic infrastructure.”