21/11/2003
Press Release
SC/7932



Security Council

4869th Meeting (AM)


MURDER, INTIMIDATION WILL NOT PREVENT EMERGENCE OF DEMOCRATIC IRAQ,

SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD BY COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY


United States, United Kingdom Brief Council, Describe

Agreement Aimed at Transitional National Assembly by June 2004


As the “oil-for-food programme” for Iraq came to an end today, representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom this morning briefed the Security Council on the activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority and described the progress made and challenges faced in areas of security, political developments and the humanitarian situation.


The representative of the United States said the same forces that for so long had plagued the Iraqi people and continued to resort to murder and intimidation had not, and would not, succeed in preventing the emergence of “an Iraq that is a democratic, pluralistic country at peace with its neighbours and a full member of the international community”.


He said the 15 November announcement by the Governing Council of a political process to establish a representative transitional national assembly to assume full sovereign powers in 2004 was a dramatic step forward, one that should be welcomed by the international community.  Under the process, a transitional national assembly would be formed and would assume, by 30 June 2004, full responsibility.  The Authority would then dissolve, as would the Iraqi Governing Council.  A timeline had been established for the direct election of a constitutional convention, no later than 15 March 2005.  A constitution would be ratified through a popular referendum and a new Iraqi Government would be elected no later than 31 December 2005.


Despite the killings and bombings, much of Iraq was calm, he said, describing the progress made in the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps, the Facilities Protection Service, border police and customs service and the army, as well as in establishing local institutions.  The international community had the opportunity and the obligation to help the Iraqi people build highly competent organizations that were dedicated to public service and maintained high standards of professionalism and respect for human rights.  Notwithstanding considerable efforts, he added, it must be acknowledged that security conditions in Iraq remained a major preoccupation.


Regarding disarmament, he said the Iraqi Survey Group, in an interim report in October, had detailed numerous violations by Iraq of its Council-mandated obligations, including efforts to conceal weapons of mass destruction-related programme activities, clandestine laboratories, and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to 1,000 kilometres.  Collected information had confirmed that Iraq had deliberately concealed equipment and materials from United Nations inspectors when they returned in 2002.


The representative of the United Kingdom briefed the Council on the provision of basic services, as well as economic, reconstruction, human rights and justice issues.  By August, he said, food distribution systems were fully restored and efforts focused on increasing the water supply, electricity generation and oil production, the supply of all of which had steadily increased.  Nearly 240 hospitals were now functioning, and most schools had been opened by the end of June.  For the first time in decades, Iraq’s resources were being used to pay for the needs of the Iraqi people.  To further help rebuild Iraq, he said, it was crucial for Member States to rapidly transfer funds of the former regime to the Development Fund for Iraq, as required under resolution 1483.


Turning to human rights, he said that the Authority had enacted legislation prohibiting torture and cruel treatment, outlawing discrimination by public office-holders and ensuring secure and humane prison conditions.  Efforts to strengthen civil society and human rights education were also being facilitated, and a new Ministry of Human Rights had been formed.  A Governing Council committee was drafting the statute and rules of procedure for a special Iraqi tribunal, so that those responsible for past atrocities could be brought to justice through an Iraqi-led process.  The Authority was also actively encouraging the broadest participation of women in the reconstruction of Iraq.


During the ensuing debate, speakers welcomed progress made, but expressed concern about the security situation that prevented the United Nations from playing its vital role, as described in resolutions 1483, 1500 and 1511.  They particularly welcomed the agreement reached between the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Governing Council of Iraq regarding establishing a transitional government and drafting a constitution.  Some speakers warned, however, that that agreement should not be a basis for new divisions among the Iraqi people.  Pakistan’s representative said it would be desirable that the “fundamental law” be drafted by Iraqi people as independently as possible, taking into account their cultural, religious and ethnic sensitivities.


The representative of the Russian Federation said he could not understand why Authority reports on Iraq disarmament were not transmitted to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  He also wondered why the 15 November agreement with the Iraqi Governing Council had not been transmitted to the Security Council.  Texts of the agreement he had seen had omitted mention of the United Nations, which was troubling.


France’s representative welcomed the approach of the 15 November agreement in Baghdad, which recognized that restoration of sovereignty must be the first stage, with establishment of a transitional government.  “We cannot waste this opportunity, which might be the last opportunity”, he said.  All Iraqis opposing violence must be included in the process.  It was also essential to involve and make accountable all States of the region, to enable Iraq to become part of the regional environment.  It was further essential that the United Nations be allowed, with full independence, to lend legitimacy and support to the process.


The representatives of Germany, Chile, China, Spain, Bulgaria, Syria, Mexico, Cameroon, Guinea and Angola also spoke.  The representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom took the floor for a second time to address comments and questions raised.


The meeting, which started at 10:20 a.m., was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.


Background


When the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, it was expected to receive a briefing from the Coalition Provisional Authority on their activities under resolution 1483 (2003), which includes the “oil-for-food” programme due to expire today at midnight.


By paragraph 24 of the resolution, the Council encouraged the United States and the United Kingdom to inform the Council at regular intervals of their activities.  A previous such briefing was held on 21 August 2003 [see Press Release SC/7851 of that date].


The oil-for-food programme was established by resolution 986 (1995) to allow Iraq to sell oil in order to finance humanitarian goods and services, under certain conditions and under control of the United Nations.  By paragraph 16(f) of resolution 1483, the Security Council extended the programme for a final six-month period, until 22 November 2003.  [For further information on resolution 1483, see Press Release SC/7765 of 22 May 2003.]


During a Council briefing on 28 October 2003, Benon Sevan, Executive Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme, confirmed that the United Nations would terminate the oil-for-food programme on 21 November 2003.  In the discussion that followed his briefing, many Council members urged that arrangements be made by the Authority and the programme to make clear their plans for the handover, including methods of processing outstanding contracts, certifying goods and ensuring humanitarian funding.


Briefings by Coalition Powers


JOHN D. NEGROPONTE (United States) said three months after the last discussion on implementation of resolution 1483, even more innocent people had sacrificed their lives in support of a vision of “an Iraq that is a democratic, pluralistic country at peace with its neighbours and a full member of the international community”.  However, the same forces that for so long plagued the Iraqi people and continued to resort to murder and intimidation had not, and would not, succeed in preventing the emergence of a new Iraq.


The people of Iraq were achieving successes on a daily basis, he said.  There were difficulties, and the price paid was high.  The international community owed it to the future peace and security of the region, as well as to the memory of the victims of 19 August, 12 November and other attacks, to help the Iraqi people defend themselves against those who did not want the new Iraq to succeed.


He said Iraqis continued to take over administrative responsibilities and to provide for basic services to their country’s 25 million people.  The Iraqi people were working to rebuild a strong Iraqi police and to raise a new Iraqi army.  Today, Iraq’s ministries were run by Iraqi ministers appointed by and reporting to the Iraqi Governing Council.  Today, the oil-for-food programme came to an end, one more important step in the establishment of a free Iraq, where the resources and wealth of the nation were used by and for the Iraqi people as they took charge of their future.


Regarding Iraq’s political transition, he said the 15 November announcement by the Governing Council of a political process to establish a representative transitional national assembly to assume full sovereign powers in 2004 was a dramatic step forward, one that should be welcomed by the international community.  Under the process, a transitional national assembly would be formed to elect an executive branch, select ministers and serve as a legislative body.  By 30 June, that new administration would assume full responsibility.  The Coalition Provisional Authority would then dissolve, as would the Iraqi Governing Council.  That transitional national assembly would be formed through caucuses at the provincial level.  Delegates to the transitional assembly would be selected no later than 31 May.


He said the selection, structure and powers of the assembly would be established by a “fundamental law” that would protect freedom of speech and religion and include a statement of equal rights for all Iraqis.  The law would define the relationship between the central government and provincial authorities.  It would also have an expiration date, by which time a permanent constitution for Iraq was to be drafted and a new Government of Iraq elected.  A timeline had been established for the direct election of a constitutional convention, no later than 15 March 2005.  A constitution would be ratified through a popular referendum and a new Iraqi Government would be elected no later than 31 December 2005.


The continued support of the international community in reconstruction efforts was also critical, he continued.  At the Madrid Donors Conference, $33 billion had been pledged.  Additional contributions by all assembled here today were very much encouraged.  The United Nations had a vital role to play in Iraq, and he would welcome the return of United Nations international personnel to Iraq to carry out the mandates of resolutions 1483 and 1511.  His country stood ready to discuss with United Nations officials appropriate security support.


Security and stability underpinned all other efforts on the ground.  Despite the killings and bombings, much of Iraq was calm.  The reality that could not be captured by a television camera was that Iraqis were coming together to expand conditions of security and stability, adding more than 130,000 personnel to the security effort.  They joined 33 nations that had contributed troops on the ground, he said


The Iraqi Civil Defence Corps was developing the capacity to foil saboteurs.  It had some 8,000 personnel on duty and that number would increase to more than 40,000 over the next months.  The Facilities Protection Service currently had more than 48,000 guards hired and trained, and 60,000 police were back on the streets.  Over 12,000 Iraqi border personnel were now on duty, and Iraq’s border police and customs service would soon grow to more than 25,000


Iraq, like all nations, would need a military for self-defence, he said.  By the fall of 2004, the Iraqi army would expand to about 35,000 troops.  The international community had the opportunity and the obligation to help the Iraqi people build highly competent organizations that were dedicated to public service and maintained high standards of professionalism and respect for human rights.  Notwithstanding considerable efforts, he continued, it must be acknowledged that security conditions in Iraq remained a major preoccupation.  The aim of persistent efforts to improve security, as well as efforts to improve basic services and empower the Iraqi people, was to yield the increased stability and security all wanted.


Iraq’s democratic transition was dependant on the vitality and effectiveness of Iraqi institutions at the local levels, as they provided the foundation for democracy and promoted social stability, he said.  There were municipal councils in all major cities, and provisional governorate councils had been formed across the country.  More and more councils were budgeting and managing their own resources.  In each of Baghdad’s 88 neighbourhoods, citizens had freely selected representatives for local governing councils.  Overall, more than 800 council members were now hard at work, including Sunnis, Shias, Christians, Arabs and Kurds.  More than 75 of them were women.


Regarding disarmament, he said on 16 June the Iraqi Survey Group had assumed responsibility for the mission of searching for weapons of mass destruction.  An interim report in October had detailed numerous violations by Iraq of its Council-mandated obligations, including efforts to conceal weapons of mass destruction-related programme activities, clandestine laboratories and safehouses that contained equipment subject to United Nations monitoring, and plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to 1,000 kilometres.  Collected information confirmed that Iraq had deliberately concealed equipment and materials from United Nations inspectors when they returned in 2002.


EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) briefed the Council on the provision of basic services, as well as economic, reconstruction, human rights and justice issues.  Following the fall of the Saddam regime, he said, the Coalition Provisional Authority had worked towards the rapid restoration of distribution networks and basic services.  By August, food distribution systems were fully restored and efforts focused on increasing the water supply, electricity generation and oil production, the supply of all of which had steadily increased.


Baghdad International Airport, he said, was being refurbished, Umm Qasr port was functioning at higher capacity with a renovated grain-receiving facility, and work had taken place on critical roads and railways.  On communications, restoration of damaged switches and rebuilding of the fibre optic backbone were under way.  By January, three mobile phone networks were expected to be functioning, and 45,000 additional Internet connections were expected to be added.


Regarding health and education, he said that nearly 240 hospitals were now functioning, 30 million vaccine doses had been distributed with the help of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and high-protein food rations had been distributed for nursing women and malnourished children.  Most schools had been opened by the end of June, nearly 1,800 schools had undergone renovation with the help of non-governmental organizations, and all 22 universities had reopened, as well as 43 technical schools.


On economic management, he said that for the first time in decades Iraq’s resources were being used to pay for the needs of the Iraqi people.  Details of the 2004 Iraqi national budget were available on the Authority Web site.  A new set of bank notes was replacing previous currency, and the central bank was now independent.


Unemployment remained a major challenge, he said, and would only be reduced with a transition to a liberalized market economy.  A credit facility for small and medium businesses had been established, rules on foreign direct investment had been established, and a pro-trade tariff regime had been passed by the Governing Council.


To further help rebuilding Iraq, he said it was crucial for Member States to rapidly transfer funds of the former regime to the Development Fund for Iraq, as required under resolution 1483.  Many States had held such funds frozen since 1990.  In addition, serious consideration towards easing Iraq’s debt burden had to be undertaken by the international community.


Turning to human rights, he said that the Authority had enacted legislation prohibiting torture and cruel treatment, outlawing discrimination by public office-holders, and ensuring secure and humane prison conditions.  Efforts to strengthen civil society and human rights education were also being facilitated, and a new Ministry of Human Rights had been formed.


He said that a Governing Council committee was drafting the statute and rules of procedure for a special Iraqi tribunal so that those responsible for past atrocities could be brought to justice through an Iraqi-led process.  The Authority was also actively encouraging the broadest participation of women in the construction of Iraq, though much more needed to be done to give women a sustained and powerful voice in the transitional national assembly and the interim national government.


In the interest of law and order, he said that a Central Criminal Court, with jurisdiction over serious crimes committed since 19 March 2003, was now operational.  In addition, over 600 Iraqi judges presided over some 500 Iraqi courts and some 300 cases had been tried, supervised by the Council of Judges that had been abolished by the previous regime.  The penal code had been amended to include such rights as the right to counsel, as well as the exclusion of evidence obtained through torture.


As Iraq had just emerged from several brutal decades, he said, no one should underestimate the massive scale of the task ahead, as highlighted by the needs assessment produced in preparation for the Madrid Conference.  In spite of that, Iraq’s potential was immense.  Working with the talented and creative people of Iraq, as well as the United Nations and humanitarian organizations, the Authority had already begun to make a difference.


Most crucially, there was now a timetable for constitutional reform and elections that will put the country’s future squarely in the hands of the Iraqi people, who will need the continuing support of the international community, as well as the assistance, as circumstances permit, of the United Nations.  “The more we can do to make rebuilding Iraq a collective enterprise, the more quickly the Iraqi people will achieve the bright future they deserve”, he concluded, adding that “the regeneration of a free and stable Iraq was in all our interests”.


Statements


JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIERE (France) said significant progress had been made and the dreaded humanitarian crisis had not taken place.  The Madrid Conference had brought about an encouraging mobilization for the rebuilding in Iraq.  Such progress was necessary to restore confidence in the future.  Unfortunately, that progress could be eclipsed by the continuation of violence.  Attacks continued unabated, wantonly targeting international humanitarian personnel, Coalition personnel and Iraqis.  Maintaining a state of occupation fed the Iraqi’s resentment and frustration, which was exploited by extremists.  That was why he had been advocating rapid restoration of Iraq sovereignty and an end to occupation.


He welcomed the approach of the 15 November agreement in Baghdad, which recognized that restoration of sovereignty must be the first stage with establishment of a transitional government.  “We cannot waste this opportunity, which might be the last opportunity”, he said.  The Council must see to it that the agreement did not create new divisions, but brought people together.  In order to attain the objectives, several elements were crucial.  All Iraqis opposing violence must be included in the process.  It was also essential to involve and make accountable all States of the region to enable Iraq to become part of the regional environment.  It was further essential that the United Nations be allowed, with full independence, to lend legitimacy to and support the process.  Regarding security of United Nations staff, he had proposed that a Special Envoy be appointed who would not initially reside in Iraq.  The idea of a national conference, under United Nations auspices, bringing together all groups deserved careful consideration and could be discussed with Iraqis, he said.


GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany) expressed encouragement because of what he called the reversal of the sequence of the political process in Iraq, due to the recent agreement between the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council.  That agreement needed to be clarified and evaluated to see how the new transitional process could be strengthened, in order to contribute to improving the security situation.  A signal should be sent to the Iraqi people that the situation had fundamentally changed.


It was true, he said, that security and reconstruction had to be managed by the Authority.  Those sectors, however, were linked to the political process.  In that context, a strong United Nations role was imperative to supply the necessary legitimacy until democratic elections took place.  The political process also had to be broadened to include all cooperative elements of Iraqi society.  In addition, Iraq had to be reintegrated into its region as a democratic State.  A regional conference should take place for that purpose.


It was imperative to create an international order based on inclusiveness, with the United Nations as its centre, he said.  That was the way to stabilize Iraq and create a better global future.


HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) said work remained for the United Nations and he hoped that the security situation would make it possible for it to assume its role as soon as possible.  The world, as never before, was facing the danger of terrorism, which used its global support network to transfer people, funds and weapons.  That new global terrorism could only be fought by joined international action.  Council measures taken in that regard had to be strengthened.  In that connection, it must not be forgotten that poverty and injustice provided a nurturing ground for extremists.


He said the Baghdad agreement of 15 November should involve transferring responsibility for establishing new institutions in Iraq, in a democratic context and with respect for human rights and minorities.  The agreement would be a decisive step in the devolution of sovereignty asked for by the Council.  He hoped the itinerary mentioned would be formalized before the Council.  He was concerned that the steps mentioned were still threatened by the security situation, but it was an important step, nonetheless, in building a democratic and independent Iraq, accompanied by the strong financial and political support of the international community.


WANG GUANGYA (China) said he welcomed the Baghdad agreement of 15 November and hoped establishing a transitional administration and a constitutional process would contribute to the restoration of full sovereignty.  He expected submission, by 15 December, of a timetable for the constitutional process and elections.


The United Nations should play a leading role, he said, and hoped that, when circumstances permitted, the United Nations would be able, at an early date, to play a substantive role in the political process and reconstruction of Iraq.  He was deeply concerned about the failure to improve the security situation in Iraq and called on the Coalition Provisional Authority to improve that situation promptly.


SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) noted that the Coalition Provisional Authority was making active efforts to restore many sectors in Iraq, and it had been notified to ensure that the many tasks needed to complete the transition of the oil-for-food programme were carried out.  He hoped that the security measures that had been mentioned would be effective, but the situation continued to decline.  Any use of force against terrorist acts should be proportional and minimize the suffering of innocent civilians.


He could not understand, he said, why Authority reports on Iraq disarmament could not be transmitted to the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  He requested information on such matters as missing persons, from the first Gulf war.


He also wondered why the 15 November agreement with the Iraqi Governing Council had not been transmitted to the Security Council.  Texts of the agreement he had seen had omitted mention of the United Nations, which was troubling.  In addition, some timelines included in the text seemed to be unrealistic.  It would be better for election dates to be decided on by the transitional government and the transitional assembly.  It also seemed that some political forces would be left out of certain processes.  Wording about the status of the Authority, after various stages of the transition, was also confusing.


He supported the holding of an international conference under the aegis of the United Nations to include all interested parties, including Iraq’s neighbours.  Given the worsening security situation, he said such a conference could be held outside of Iraq.  There was a need to involve, in a genuine way, as many local actors as possible, and the United Nations, in the political process.


ANA MARIA MENENDEZ (Spain) said that Iraq still bore the traces of three decades of dictatorship.  Despite the problems, a large proportion of the Iraqi people were better off today than under the previous regime.  However, brutal terrorist attacks were taking place to prevent Iraq from joining the ranks of prosperous nations, and the international community will fight that effort.


Rebuilding Iraq was a joint effort, she said.  Important advances had been made in basic infrastructure.  Most importantly, the budget for next year was available for all to see.  She welcomed the agreement of 15 November, because she supported the quickest possible transition to Iraqi control.  The reform of the judicial system was also important.  She also supported the proposal to establish a high commission for women and efforts to transfer the security responsibility to Iraqis.  She said the security situation was still troubling, but there was cause for hope that security could return to the point that the United Nations could take on an important role in the country.


RAYKO S. RAYTCHEV (Bulgaria) commended the efforts of the Coalition Provisional Authority to establish a free, democratic and stable Iraq under difficult circumstances and welcomed active cooperation between the Authority, the United Nations and the Governing Council.  The 15 November announcement marked a new stage in the gradual, speedy and orderly transfer of authority to the Iraqi people.  He appreciated the efforts of the Authority to transfer responsibility for security to the Iraqis and strengthen establishment of local institutions.


He said security was a prerequisite for resumption of a United Nations presence.  The international community should, therefore, support strengthening the security situation, and increased international assistance could help to improve stability on the ground.  The violence should not divert the international community from its strong commitment to help the people of Iraq.  He hoped United Nations international personnel had only been temporarily relocated outside Iraq.


FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said Syria was not merely a country neigbouring Iraq, but was tied to it by history, culture and common interest.  Visits undertaken by many representatives of the Iraqi people, including from the Governing Council, to Damascus in the last few weeks showed that relations between the two peoples were very deep.  Syria had shipped tons of food assistance and other humanitarian assistance.


On 2 October in Damascus, a meeting of foreign ministers of neighbouring countries, plus Egypt, had considered current developments in Iraq.  They had agreed on:  solidarity by neighbouring countries with Iraq in its current plight; a rejection of any measure leading to division of Iraq or any attempt to undermine its sovereignty; stressing the right of the Iraqis to determine their own future; reasserting responsibilities of the Coalition Provisional Authority according to Council resolutions; condemnation of the bombing of international and diplomatic facilities; and a call to relevant Iraqi authorities to cooperate with neighbouring countries in order to eradicate terrorism.


He said there was a need for the United Nations to have an effective and vital role in political and humanitarian activities.  His country was concerned about today’s developments in Iraq, as preserving the fundamental interests of the Iraqi people and political stability in the country also served Syria’s interests and those of the region.  He appealed to Council members to put an end, as soon as possible, to the occupation of Iraq.


CARLOS PUJALTE (Mexico) said he was encouraged by the 15 November agreement and he proposed a follow-up mechanism to monitor progress in the transition.  Increased security could bring back the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.  In Iraqi disarmament, small and light weapons should be as much of a concern as weapons of mass destruction, as shown by the kind of attacks that were taking place.  The Council should adopt a resolution regarding the production and sale of those weapons worldwide.  It would have an immediate effect in the combat on terrorism.


Noting efforts described by the Authority in the area of human rights, he called for justice to be properly applied in dealing with past crimes.  He asked for information on coordination between the Authority and neighbouring countries and asked how the Authority distinguished between terrorists, members of the previous regimes, other factions and ordinary criminals.


IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) welcomed plans for a more speedy and orderly transfer of power back to the Iraqi people.  The international community must support the recent agreement.  Beyond July 2004, however, Iraq would still require assistance from the international community and its neighbours.  He expressed appreciation for the funds committed by the United States in that effort.


The international community must provide a proactive response to the security situation in Iraq, he said, though security must be primarily the responsibility of Iraqis, with assistance in building their capacity.  He supported the work of the Authority in taking over the oil-for-food programme, appreciating the pragmatic approach that built on the United Nations’ legacy.  He expressed support for the Iraqi people in the challenges that lay ahead and appreciation for the sacrifices made by Coalition forces.


MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said any new development in Iraq should lead to consensus-building and the healing of wounds.  All developments on the political and security front should be supported by the Iraqis, who should be allowed to steer those developments.  Consensus should also be sought in the region.  The conclusion of the Baghdad agreement was an important development, but the Council was still awaiting formal confirmation by the Governing Council of the timeline for drafting the constitution.


He had noted the provision for drafting by the Governing Council of the “fundamental law” in close cooperation with the Coalition Provisional Authority.  He said it would be desirable that the law be drafted by Iraqi people as independently as possible, taking into account their cultural, religious and ethnic sensitivities.  He asked about the status of bilateral agreements by the end of 2004, and concluded by saying that there was a need for an enabling environment to allow the United Nations to play its due role in Iraq.


ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) welcomed progress made in rebuilding Iraq and the agreement of 15 November between the Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority dealing with the timetable for restoring sovereignty to the Iraqi people.  He hoped the Council would soon receive the official timetable from the President of the Governing Council, so that it could be examined with a view to adapting the United Nations mission to the political, humanitarian and security situation.


He said the United Nations had a vital role to play in the political and economic recovery.  Priority attention needed to be given to security, which assumed the broad political mobilization of the Iraqi people and countries in the neighbourhood around the Baghdad agreement.  He hoped the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General on the Iraqi situation would give a perspective on ways and means for the United Nations to be involved in restoring the sovereignty of the Iraqi people.


ISMAEL ABRAAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity, stressed that resolution 1483 specifically called for a rapid restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty.  In its resolutions on the subject, the Council had also maintained that provision of security was essential for the completion of the political process.


He was encouraged by the 15 November agreement, especially by its setting of timetables as requested by resolution 1511.  He expected the benchmarks in that resolution to be met.  He realized the challenges, but he asked the Coalition Provisional Authority to relentlessly pursue the goals that have been set out, so that the rule of law could finally emerge in Iraq.  The Council must also play a role in those efforts.  Indeed, the agreement of 15 November made the United Nations role more viable.


Response by Coalition Powers


Mr. NEGROPONTE (United States) said he would not try to answer all questions now, but would set a date for further consultations on Iraq.  Regarding comments that called the security situation alarming, he said it was true security was troubling, particularly in the centre of the country, but with the vigorous efforts now taking place, he was sure the situation would be dealt with, and that a climate of political peace and prosperity would be created.


He would provide a list of measures being taken to bolster Iraqi security capacity.  There were also a number of ways in which the international community could help the people of Iraq ameliorate the security conditions.  Neighbours could assist with border control.


On the role of the United Nations, he said that such a role was already laid out in resolutions 1483 and 1511.  The United Nations, in other words, had a vital role to play, and he welcomed its return.  Security support for the Organization should be discussed.  There were still 3,000 to 4,000 United Nations local personnel, carrying out humanitarian programmes.  He paid tribute to their performance under difficult circumstances.


In response to questions about the election timelines posed by the representative of the Russian Federation, he said that the dates in the agreement represented outside limits.  What was essential was that the question of drafting the constitution had been separated from the creation of an internationally recognized transitional government.  In Afghanistan, there was quite a long period of time between the establishment of a recognized transitional government and other necessary parts of the political process.  In addition, the agreement did not exclude those outside the Governing Council from participating in the process.  Efforts were being made to ensure the greatest degree of inclusiveness possible.


To Mexico’s representative, he responded that the Governing Council had reached out to neighbouring countries.  He could not give a definitive answer about the kinds of elements that were conducting attacks.  Better and better answers could be developed as time went on and intelligence was improved.


Mr. JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said the security situation in Iraq was being tackled with determination, bearing in mind it was for the Iraqi people, increasingly, to assume responsibility.  Security could not be tackled in isolation from the political.  Both processes had to be tackled together.  Better and more coordinated intelligence would be helpful.  The question of who was responsible for the attacks was not as important as how they could be prevented.


The Baghdad agreement was consistent with resolution 1511, he said.  The primary ownership of the agreement was with the Iraqis, and they had the responsibility to report formally to the Council.  The Governing Council was aware of the need to meet the deadline and was working towards it.  He recognized, as did the Governing Council, the need to maximize participation in the caucus election.  How that caucus election was to be held was a matter for the Iraqis to decide.  The Governing Council would have a role in deciding on how the Assembly would be put together, but not a controlling one.  The sooner the United Nations role was enhanced, the better.


Regarding military agreements, he said an international security presence would be necessary after putting in place a transitional government.  That force would operate on the invitation of the Iraqi Government, and he hoped that the Security Council would recognize that force in some form.  The Coalition Provisional Authority’s formal role would come to an end with the creation of the transitional government, and the occupation would come to an end at the same time.  The United Kingdom was prepared to continue to provide assistance to the transitional government, but that government would have the primary responsibility to ensure security.


In conclusion, he said the effort to produce new facts on the ground had been successful, but more needed to be done.  That process merited and required the commitment of the international community.


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