The United Nations Security Council decided unanimously today to extend the mandate of the United States-led multinational force in Iraq by one year, until the end of 2006, unless the Iraqi Government requests it leave earlier.
Through previous resolutions, the Council had decided that the Force's mandate could be reviewed or terminated should the Iraqis ask, but would nonetheless expire once a permanent Government was constitutionally elected by the end of 2005.
Under today's resolution, the Council also decided to extend until 31 December 2006 the arrangements for depositing proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas into the Development Fund of Iraq (DFI), which was established in May 2003 to administer proceeds from those commodities as well as funds remaining from the United Nations "Oil-for-Food" Programme and other assets seized from the former regime.
Speaking after the vote, US Ambassador John Bolton said he was pleased that the Council had been able to come together quickly and unanimously to respond to the Iraqi Government's request for continued support.
He urged the international community, "especially the Arab world," to support the Iraqi people. "That support comes in many forms – participation in the Coalition, contribution to Iraq's humanitarian and reconstruction activities, increased diplomatic engagement, and compliance with relevant resolutions," Ambassador Bolton said.
Iraq's representative, Samir Shakir Mahmood Sumaida'ie, expressed his appreciation for the Council's response to the request by his Prime Minister – who asked for the extension in a letter earlier this week – as well as for the manner in which the resolution had been adopted, in an environment of harmony and agreement.
Stressing that the foreign forces in Iraq must maintain their temporary status, France's representative, Michel Duclos, emphasized the clarity of the provision of the text that said the future government, at any time, would be able to request that the mandate be continued or ended.