24/03/2004
Press Release
SC/8035



Security Council                                           

4930th Meeting (AM)                                         


SECURITY COUNCIL, IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT, STRONGLY SUPPORTS DECISION


TO DISPATCH UN ASSISTANCE TEAMS TO IRAQ ‘AS SOON AS POSSIBLE’


In anticipation of the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on 30 June, the Security Council today welcomed and strongly supported the Secretary-General’s decision to dispatch to Iraq as soon as possible his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi and his team, as well as an electoral assistance team.


In a presidential statement read out by the Council’s President (document S/PRST/2004/6), Jean-Marc de la Sablière (France), the Council indicated that the teams would lend assistance and advice to the Iraqi people in the formation of the interim government, as well as to the preparations for direct elections to be held before the end of January 2005.  


The Council also welcomed the Secretary-General’s letter dated 18 March and the exchange of letters with Bahr Al-Uloom, Interim President of the Iraqi Governing Council for the month of March and L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). 


The letter from the head of the Governing Council states the Council’s continuing belief that the United Nations must play an important role in Iraq.  Similarly, the letter from the CPA expresses the belief that the United Nations has a significant role to play in assisting Iraq.  Both documents express the hope that the United Nations return to the country as soon as possible.


The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and was adjourned at 10:20 a.m.


The full text of the Presidential Statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/2004/6, reads as follows:


“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s letter dated 18 March and the exchange of letters with Dr. Bahr Al-Uloom, Interim President of the Iraqi Governing Council for the month of March 2004 and Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator, Coalition Provisional Authority.


“The Security Council also welcomes and strongly supports the Secretary-General’s decision to dispatch to Iraq his Special Adviser, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi and his team, as well as an electoral assistance team, as soon as possible, in order to lend assistance and advice to the Iraqi people in the formation of an interim Iraqi government to which sovereignty will be transferred on 30 June 2004, as well as in the preparations for direct elections to be held before the end of January 2005.


 “The Security Council calls on all parties in Iraq to cooperate fully with these United Nations teams, and welcomes the security and other support provided to them by the Iraqi Governing Council and the CPA.”


Background


When the Council met this morning, it had before it a letter dated 18 March from the Secretary-General to the Council President (document S/2004/225).  It transmits letters from Mohammed Bahr Al-Uloom, Interim President of the Iraqi Governing Council and from L. Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).  Attached to the letter are the Secretary-General’s replies to those communications, in which he expresses his intention, in line with the mandates authorized by the Security Council and in keeping with the commitment of the United Nations to assist the people of Iraq, to ask Mr. Brahimi and his team, as well as an electoral assistance team, to return to Iraq “as soon as possible”. 


The letter dated 17 March from the Interim President of the Iraqi Governing Council sends the Secretary-General a copy of the Transitional Administrative Law of the IraqiState, which, he says, provides a foundation for Iraq’s democracy and paves the way to a permanent constitution.  The letter also states the Council’s continuing belief that the United Nations must play an important role in Iraq.  It thanks the Secretary-General for sending the United Nations delegation led by Mr. Brahimi to Iraq


Also by that letter, the Council expresses appreciation for the advice and assistance of the United Nations as it looks to the next challenge in the political transition:  the formation of an interim Iraqi government to which sovereignty will be transferred on 30 June.  It welcomes United Nations consultation in the efforts it is exerting in the broad national dialogue regarding the shape and scope of this interim government.  It also looks forward to United Nations assistance in providing advice and observations needed to ensure that direct elections are held before the end of January 2005.  “The experience and capability of the United Nations will be invaluable both in the creation of the infrastructure and in the conduct of the elections”, the letter states.


The letter from the Administrator of the CPA, also dated 17 March, says that the Governing Council took an “important step” towards the establishment of an independent, democratic State with the adoption of the Transitional Administrative Law on 8 March.  Along with the Council, the CPA believes that the United Nations has a “significant role” to play in assisting Iraq as it continues with this process.  It hoped that Mr. Brahimi and his team will “be able to return to Iraq as soon as possible” to help build consensus among Iraqis on the powers, structure and composition of the interim government and the process for its establishment.


The CPA also welcomes the advice and assistance of the United Nations in the creation of the electoral infrastructure and hopes that the United Nations elections experts will arrive in Iraq early in the week of 21 March.  Mr. Bremer assures the Secretary-General that the CPA will “cooperate closely” with the United Nations and the Governing Council to provide the security required for the United Nations to carry out these missions.  “We greatly value the commitment of the United Nations to assisting the Iraqi people”, Mr. Bremer says.  He looks forward to the return of the United Nations to Iraq “as soon as possible”.


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