Thursday, November 10, 2005
United Nations Extends Multinational Force in Iraq for One Year
By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The Security Council November 8 unanimously agreed to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) in Iraq for one year.
"The unanimous adoption of this resolution is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for a 'federal, democratic, pluralist, and unified Iraq,'" U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said.
The resolution extended the MNF mandate to December 31, 2006, unless the Iraqi government requests that it leave sooner. Previous resolutions concerning the force had it ending after the upcoming December national elections to replace the transitional government. In addition to the extension, the current resolution calls for a review of the mandate by June 15, 2006.
Extending the mandate at this time instead of waiting until the end of 2005, Bolton said, "will facilitate continued international support for Iraq's security and will give the newly elected Iraqi government time to assume office, address constitutional questions, and consolidate its authority before confronting issues such as those addressed in this resolution." The Iraqi people "continue to demonstrate the courage that we have seen throughout the transition process," Bolton said. "They went to the polls in extraordinary numbers last month and approved a new constitution last month, offering inspiration to other countries new to democracy, and other parts of the Arab world."
"Iraq is quickly approaching another major milestone in its transition -- there will be a new election on December 15th. It is important this be a transparent, participatory, and inclusive process for all Iraqi communities," he said.
In a letter to the Security Council October 31, Iraq Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari asked for the one-year extension, saying, "Iraq is still confronted by forces of terrorism that incorporate foreign elements which carry out horrific attacks and terrorist acts in an attempt to thwart political and economic development in Iraq.
"The Iraqi security forces, which are growing in size, capacity and experience day by day, need more time to fill out their ranks, fully equip themselves and complete their training with a view to assuming responsibility for all security matters and providing adequate security for the Iraqi people," Al-Jaafari said.
In a separate letter to the council October 31, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the MNF "stands ready to continue to fulfill its mandate."
The Iraqi government and the MNF "have developed an effective and cooperative security partnership to address the evolving nature of Iraq's security environment, including the continuing need to prevent and deter acts of terrorism. This partnership plays a critical role in the daily efforts to improve security throughout Iraq," Rice said.
Iraq and the MNF are developing a security plan to set out the conditions necessary for transfer of security responsibility from the MNF to the Iraqi Security Forces, she said. "Conditions permitting, we look forward to notable progress in the next year."
"Together, we will build toward the day when the Iraqi forces assume full responsibility for the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq," the secretary said.
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by Denmark, Japan, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States, also extends the arrangements for depositing proceeds from the export sales of oil, oil products and natural gas into the Development Fund of Iraq and for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board to monitor that development fund.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)