16/10/2003
Press Release
SC/7898



Security Council

4844th Meeting (AM)


SECURITY COUNCIL, ACTING UNANIMOUSLY, CALLS FOR POWER TO BE RETURNED


TO IRAQI PEOPLE ‘AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE’


Resolves UN Should Strengthen ‘Vital Role’ in Country,

Invites Timetable by 15 December for Drafting Constitution, Holding Elections


The Security Council this morning, acting unanimously, called on the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to return governing authority to the people of that country “as soon as practicable”, and invited the Iraqi Governing Council to provide a timetable, by 15 December 2003, for drafting a new constitution and holding democratic elections.


Through resolution 1511 (2003), and under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council underscored the temporary nature of the Coalition Authority and determined that the Governing Council of Iraq embodied the sovereignty of that State until an internationally recognized, representative government was established and assumed the responsibilities of the Authority.


In addition, the Council urged Member States to contribute to a multinational force in Iraq to maintain security under a unified command until the establishment of a representative government, at which time its mandate would expire.  It decided to review the requirements and mission of the force within one year.


It also resolved that the United Nations should strengthen its vital role in the country.  That role, according to the text, would include efforts to build institutions for representative government, to provide humanitarian relief and to promote the economic reconstruction and sustainable development of the country, activities set out in paragraphs 98 and 99 of the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2003/715, see Press Release SC/7843 of 14 August).


By the text, the Council unequivocally condemned the recent terrorist bombings of embassies and the United Nations headquarters, as well as the recent assassinations of diplomats and prominent Iraqis.


To support the Iraq reconstruction effort, the Council urged Member States and international financial institutions to make substantial pledges at the 23-24 October 2003 International Donors Conference in Madrid.


After the vote, Secretary-General Kofi Annan commended the members of the Security Council for having reached agreement on an important resolution, with the outcome being a clear demonstration of the will of all the members of the Security Council to place the interests of the Iraqi people above all other considerations and to restore peace and stability to a sovereign, democratic and independent Iraq as quickly as possible.


He said he would do his utmost to implement the mandate established by the Council, bearing in mind his obligation to care for the safety of United Nations staff.  Although the Organization currently had only a skeleton presence on the ground, he expressed determination to continue helping the Iraqi people from both inside and outside the country, primarily in providing humanitarian assistance.


Speaking in explanation of their votes, the representatives of France, Germany and the Russian Federation stressed the importance of unity among Council members in reconstructing Iraq and restoring stability to the region.  They said that their amendments and proposals had been, in part, incorporated into the text, resulting in a clear commitment to restore Iraqi sovereignty as quickly as possible.  They regretted, however, the lack of a timetable for the political transition and the insufficient role of the United Nations in that political process.  In that context, they said, the resolution had not created conditions for military commitments or further financial contributions beyond present engagements.


Pakistan’s representative also said that his country would not contribute troops because, he said, the multinational force should have a distinct identity from the Coalition forces and should be deployed on the invitation of the Iraqi people.  His delegation had proposed such provisions, but they had not been included in the text.  However, they had voted to adopt the resolution, because it was an opportunity to devise a structure that could lead to early political independence for Iraq.  Despite the contradictions of the text, the main goals -- sovereignty, improvement and economic and social reconstruction -- had been maintained.  He called for a follow-up to the resolution in the form of a process of broad consultations on Iraq, which would involve the Iraqi people and Arab and Islamic countries.


Speaking in his national capacity, the representative of the United States said that, during six weeks of intense discussions, he had listened carefully to the positions of each Council Member.  The end result was a strengthened resolution, which confirmed Iraqi leadership in the transfer of power and, in doing so, reaffirmed a point the United States had never left in doubt:  the authority of the Coalition was temporary in nature and would revert to the people of Iraq as soon as practicable, he said.  By addressing the triad of politics, economics and security, the resolution offered a solid base for expanded international engagement.


Statements were also made by the representatives of United Kingdom, China, Syria, Spain, Bulgaria and Chile.


The meeting began at 10:45 a.m. and adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


Background


The Security Council met this morning to act on a draft resolution concerning the situation in Iraq (document S/2003/992*).  The text, sponsored by Cameroon, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Reaffirming its previous resolutions on Iraq, including resolution 1483 (2003) of 22 May 2003 and 1500 (2003) of 14 August 2003, and on threats to peace and security caused by terrorist acts, including resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, and other relevant resolutions,


Underscoring that the sovereignty of Iraq resides in the State of Iraq, reaffirming the right of the Iraqi people freely to determine their own political future and control their own natural resources, reiterating its resolve that the day when Iraqis govern themselves must come quickly, and recognizing the importance of international support, particularly that of countries in the region, Iraq’s neighbours, and regional organizations, in taking forward this process expeditiously,


Recognizing that international support for restoration of conditions of stability and security is essential to the well-being of the people of Iraq as well as to the ability of all concerned to carry out their work on behalf of the people of Iraq, and welcoming Member State contributions in this regard under resolution 1483 (2003),


Welcoming the decision of the Governing Council of Iraq to form a preparatory constitutional committee to prepare for a constitutional conference that will draft a constitution to embody the aspirations of the Iraqi people, and urging it to complete this process quickly,


Affirming that the terrorist bombings of the Embassy of Jordan on 7 August 2003, of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, of the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on 29 August 2003, and of the Embassy of Turkey on 14 October 2003, and the murder of a Spanish diplomat on 9 October 2003 are attacks on the people of Iraq, the United Nations, and the international community, and deploring the assassination of Dr. Akila al-Hashimi, who died on 25 September 2003, as an attack directed against the future of Iraq,


“In that context, recalling and reaffirming the statement of its President of 20 August 2003 (S/PRST/2003/13) and resolution 1502 (2003) of 26 August 2003,


Determining that the situation in Iraq, although improved, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,


Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,


“1.   Reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, and underscores, in that context, the temporary nature of the exercise by the Coalition Provisional Authority (Authority) of the specific responsibilities, authorities, and obligations under applicable international law recognized and set forth in resolution 1483 (2003), which will cease when an internationally recognized, representative government established by the people of Iraq is sworn in and assumes the responsibilities of the Authority, inter alia through steps envisaged in paragraphs 4 through 7 and 10 below;


“2.   Welcomes the positive response of the international community, in fora such as the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to the establishment of the broadly representative Governing Council as an important step towards an internationally recognized, representative government;


“3.   Supports the Governing Council’s efforts to mobilize the people of Iraq, including by the appointment of a cabinet of ministers and a preparatory constitutional committee to lead a process in which the Iraqi people will progressively take control of their own affairs;


“4.   Determines that the Governing Council and its ministers are the principal bodies of the Iraqi interim administration, which, without prejudice to its further evolution, embodies the sovereignty of the State of Iraq during the transitional period until an internationally recognized, representative government is established and assumes the responsibilities of the Authority;


“5.   Affirms that the administration of Iraq will be progressively undertaken by the evolving structures of the Iraqi interim administration;


“6.   Calls upon the Authority, in this context, to return governing responsibilities and authorities to the people of Iraq as soon as practicable and requests the Authority, in cooperation as appropriate with the Governing Council and the Secretary-General, to report to the Council on the progress being made;


“7.   Invites the Governing Council to provide to the Security Council, for its review, no later than 15 December 2003, in cooperation with the 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;


“8.   Resolves that the United Nations, acting through the Secretary-General, his Special Representative, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, 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;


“9.   Requests that, as circumstances permit, the Secretary-General pursue the course of action outlined in paragraphs 98 and 99 of the report of the Secretary-General of 17 July 2003 (S/2003/715);


“10.  Takes note of the intention of the Governing Council to hold a constitutional conference and, recognizing that the convening of the conference will be a milestone in the movement to the full exercise of sovereignty, calls for its preparation through national dialogue and consensus-building as soon as practicable and requests the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, at the time of the convening of the conference or, as circumstances permit, to lend the unique expertise of the United Nations to the Iraqi people in this process of political transition, including the establishment of electoral processes;


“11.  Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the resources of the United Nations and associated organizations are available, if requested by the Iraqi Governing Council and, as circumstances permit, to assist in furtherance of the programme provided by the Governing Council in paragraph 7 above, and encourages other organizations with expertise in this area to support the Iraqi Governing Council, if requested;


“12.  Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on his responsibilities under this resolution and the development and implementation of a timetable and programme under paragraph 7 above;


“13.  Determines that the provision of security and stability is essential to the successful completion of the political process as outlined in paragraph 7 above and to the ability of the United Nations to contribute effectively to that process and the implementation of resolution 1483 (2003), and 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;


“14.  Urges Member States to contribute assistance under this United Nations mandate, including military forces, to the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above;


“15.  Decides that the Council shall review the requirements and mission of the multinational force referred to in paragraph 13 above not later than one year from the date of this resolution, and that in any case the mandate of the force shall expire upon the completion of the political process as described in paragraphs 4 through 7 and 10 above, and expresses readiness to consider on that occasion any future need for the continuation of the multinational force, taking into account the views of an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq;


“16.  Emphasizes the importance of establishing effective Iraqi police and security forces in maintaining law, order, and security and combating terrorism consistent with paragraph 4 of resolution 1483 (2003), and calls upon Member States and international and regional organizations to contribute to the training and equipping of Iraqi police and security forces;


“17.  Expresses deep sympathy and condolences for the personal losses suffered by the Iraqi people and by the United Nations and the families of those United Nations personnel and other innocent victims who were killed or injured in these tragic attacks;


“18.  Unequivocally condemns the terrorist bombings of the Embassy of Jordan on 7 August 2003, of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003, and of the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on 29 August 2003, and of the Embassy of Turkey on 14 October 2003, the murder of a Spanish diplomat on 9 October 2003, and the assassination of Dr. Akila al-Hashimi, who died on 25 September 2003, and emphasizes that those responsible must be brought to justice;


“19.  Calls upon Member States to prevent the transit of terrorists to Iraq, arms for terrorists, and financing that would support terrorists, and emphasizes the importance of strengthening the cooperation of the countries of the region, particularly neighbours of Iraq, in this regard;


“20.  Appeals to Member States and the international financial institutions to strengthen their efforts to assist the people of Iraq in the reconstruction and development of their economy, and urges those institutions to take immediate steps to provide their full range of loans and other financial assistance to Iraq, working with the Governing Council and appropriate Iraqi ministries;


“21.  Urges Member States and international and regional organizations to support the Iraq reconstruction effort initiated at the 24 June 2003 United Nations Technical Consultations, including through substantial pledges at the 23-24 October 2003 International Donors Conference in Madrid;


“22.  Calls upon Member States and concerned organizations to help meet the needs of the Iraqi people by providing resources necessary for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq’s economic infrastructure;


“23.  Emphasizes that the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) referred to in paragraph 12 of resolution 1483 (2003) should be established as a priority, and reiterates that the Development Fund for Iraq shall be used in a transparent manner as set out in paragraph 14 of resolution 1483 (2003);


“24.  Reminds all Member States of their obligations under paragraphs 19 and 23 of resolution 1483 (2003) in particular the obligation to immediately cause the transfer of funds, other financial assets and economic resources to the Development Fund for Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people;


“25.  Requests that the United States, on behalf of the multinational force as outlined in paragraph 13 above, report to the Security Council on the efforts and progress of this force as appropriate and not less than every six months;


“26.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”


Action on Text


The Council adopted resolution 1511 (2003) unanimously.


Statements


Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN commended members of the Council for having reached a significant agreement on what obviously was a particularly important resolution to address the complex situation in Iraq.  The process had been difficult, but the outcome was a clear demonstration of the will of all members of the Council to place the interest of the Iraqi people over all other considerations.


The common goal was to restore peace and stability to a sovereign, democratic and independent Iraq as quickly as possible.  It was critical to the Iraqi people that the international community succeed in reaching the goal of an Iraq that was at peace with itself and its neighbours and contributed to the stability in the region.


He would do his utmost to implement the mandate established by the Council, bearing in mind the constraints on building up the required capacity and his obligation to care for the safety and security of the United Nations staff.  He was grateful for the flexibility the resolution had offered him.  Although at the moment the United Nations had only a skeleton presence on the ground in Iraq, he was determined to continue to help the Iraqi people as best he could, primarily in providing humanitarian aid.  As circumstances permitted, he said he planned to proceed with the other tasks elaborated in the resolution.  He had no doubt all looked forward to the earliest possible establishment of an elected government that would return Iraq to full sovereignty.


SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) emphasized the importance of returning sovereignty to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible and to take other measures that would encourage the stabilization of the region.  He said that the resolution unambiguously affirms the rights of the people of Iraq to control their own future and also gives the Secretary-General a greater role in such areas as the political transition, where the United Nations must be a leader.


Regarding the multinational force, he said in the final version its primary role was to provide security until the political transition took place.  The resolution did not discuss the problem of weapons of mass destruction and other matters which would have to be dealt with, which was to say that the resulting resolution did not solve all problems.  But, it was able to create consensus, a priority of his country.  He emphasized that the resolution provided the preconditions for returning Iraqi sovereignty, but that it was up to Council members to closely monitor the situation and act in favour of that effort.


GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany) said the resolution took up important concerns of post-war order in Iraq.  The sponsors had undertaken commendable efforts to accommodate claims that had been made.  He recognized that fact as one of the factors for his country’s approval.  Another factor was the fact that he and the sponsors shared the same goals in Iraq:  to contribute to a swift stabilization of the conditions in Iraq; to support the political and economic reconstruction process; and to promote the restoration of sovereignty of the Iraqi people through a government democratically elected by them.  That could only succeed when the Council appeared as unified as possible.


He said that although the resolution was an important step in the right direction, had the amendments presented by him, with France and the Russian Federation, been fully integrated, a better resolution could have been possible.  He missed the clear signal that the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis would be accelerated.  The role of the Secretary-General could have been strengthened even more.  The Council was also incorporated rather sparingly in the development.  He also would have wished for clearer guidelines with regard to timing.


Referring to the joint statement of Russian Federation, France and Germany, he said his country could not envisage any military commitment.  He remained firmly optimistic that an even broader involvement of the United Nations –- in particular of the Secretary-General, the Iraqi people and the neighbours in the region -– in the reconstruction process in Iraq would succeed.


JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIERE (France) said that, with so much at stake, a more clear-cut text should have been produced.  It was particularly important to set timetables for a political transition.  Such provisions were necessary to mobilize the international community for Iraq and to take measures to stabilize the country.


On the other hand, France had been able to vote for the text because the authors of the resolution had taken into account a number of amendments that it had submitted.  Unity in the Council was a priority.  He hoped that today’s action would lead to other steps that he felt were indispensable.


EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said the unanimous vote in favour of the resolution was excellent news for the people of Iraq, the Council and the United Nations.  In elaborating the resolution, his country had sought three main objectives:  to confirm and accelerate the transfer of power; to send a clear signal that the international community was committed to rapid reconstruction of a free Iraq, secure and stable; and to ensure, as conditions permit, a vital role for the United Nations in partnership with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi people.


The resolution was also clear about giving control over Iraq to its people as soon as possible, but without proscribing artificial schedules, he said.  The resolution reaffirmed sovereignty and territorial integrity and the temporary role of the Coalition Authority.


He urged United Nations Member States and international bodies to support the reconstruction of the country by pledging substantially, in particular at the Madrid Donor Conference.  The resolution had established a multinational force to protect the United Nations mission and to ensure security and stability for the political process to succeed.  It had giving the Secretary-General the opportunity to strengthen his role.  The resolution focused on the practical, not on some blueprint imposed from New York.  Progress in Iraq would be all the more swift if the divisions of the past were put behind.


WANG GUANGYA (China) said that he voted for the resolution to help Iraq achieve peace and stability, restore sovereignty and recommence development.  The resulting draft had incorporated improvements submitted by many parties, including China.


It was important to achieve consensus in the Council, he said, but had the resolution incorporated more such improvements, it would have been much more effective.  Much more effort needed to be applied to providing a greater role to the United Nations and restoring Iraqi sovereignty as soon as possible.  China was ready to make positive contribution to that end.


MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said before and after the war in Iraq, his country’s position had been guided by concern for the welfare of the people of Iraq.  Unfortunately, the situation in Iraq had evolved in ways that had aroused international concern, in particular with regard to the security situation.  The initiation of the present resolution was an opportunity to address those concerns and devise a structure that could lead to early political independence.  Despite the contradictions of the text, the main goals -- sovereignty, improvement and economic and social reconstruction -- had been maintained.


He said had the resolution stipulated the principles that should guide the transition -- the right of the Iraqi people to choose their own government, and permanent control over their resources -- it would have been better.  Quick transfer of power and authority to the Iraqi people was an inalienable right and, like other peoples, the Iraqi people were entitled to that right without further delay.  He hoped the timetable would be accelerated, with a view to ending occupation, and that the interim authority would be quickly instituted.


The political process towards restoration of full sovereignty would have gained in credibility if it had been conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.  He understood the concerns of the Secretary-General, but trusted that the circumstances that would allow the Secretary-General to play his role would arise as soon as possible.  He was convinced that a United Nations role in overseeing the political transition could be discharged without assuming unacceptable risks to United Nations personnel.


Deployment of military capability in Iraq was essential at present to create a climate of security, he said.  However, the forces deployed must be acceptable to the Iraqi people.  Otherwise, their presence might intensify insecurity.  Therefore, Pakistan had advocated that the multinational force should have a distinct identity from the Coalition forces and should be deployed on the invitation of the Iraqi people.  Unfortunately, those considerations had not been reflected in the resolution.  Therefore, Pakistan would not contribute troops.


The resolution was not the last word on Iraq, he said.  The international community would do well to open a process of broad consultations which would involve the Iraqi people and Arab and Islamic countries in order to evolve consensus on how best to restore sovereignty and territorial integrity, improve security, and promote reconstruction, he said.


FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said it had joined the consensus after consultations with other representatives on the Council and others, including Japan.  It did not meet all his requirements, but it was a step further along the right road and could accelerate progress toward Iraq self-governance and a greater role for the United Nations.  Syria would continue to work to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people.


INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain) unreservedly welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which, he said, was an important step to improve the lives of the Iraqis and to activate Iraqi recovery of its own destiny.  Iraq deserved such consensus and unity on the Council, and the entire region would benefit if it helped the country move toward normalcy.  The unanimous adoption of the resolution was good news for the Council, because differences of the past were being reduced.  In addition, the resolution gave momentum to the Donors Conference in Madrid, which would be a milestone in the progress of the Iraqi people.


STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) was gratified with the unanimous adoption of the resolution, as it sends a message to the Iraqi people that the time to regain full sovereignty was at hand.  Throughout consultations, his delegation had insisted on maximum flexibility regarding implementation of the United Nations mandate, depending on the security situation.  He thanked the co-sponsors for having accepted that proposal.  He said the resolution would not be the last one on Iraq.  Others would follow to foster the emergence of a sovereign and democratic Iraq.


CRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution, as it opened up a new stage in the reconstruction in Iraq, would gradually transfer authority to the people, and addressed the role of the United Nations.  The Governing Council would have to send a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding elections.  In view of the complex security situation, the Secretary-General would decide on participation of United Nations staff in the process.  In that context, he asked the Secretary-General to inform the Council of progress achieved in the transfer of power to the Iraqi people.  Consensus achieved was an example of the ability of the Council to come to agreement and understanding.


JOHN NEGROPONTE (United States), speaking in his national capacity, said that, by the unanimous adoption of the resolution, the international community had demonstrated its wholehearted support for the people of Iraq.  During the past six weeks, intense and constructive discussions had been held on the future of the international community in Iraq.  The United States had listened carefully to the concerns of each Council member.  The end result of the dialogue was a strengthened resolution.


The resolution confirmed Iraqi leadership in the transfer of power and, in doing so, reaffirmed a point the United States had never left in doubt:  the authority of the Coalition was temporary in nature and would revert to the people of Iraq as soon as practicable, he said.


The resolution, he said, also provided for an expanded United Nations role in the transition and established a United Nations-authorized multinational force, with a platform for contributions to the training and equipping of police and security forces.  It also encouraged significant and sustained contribution to Iraqi reconstruction and development.  By addressing the triad of politics, economics and security, the resolution thus offered a solid base for expanded international engagement.


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