Members hail Security Council unanimity on Iraqi resolution, comment on text

16 October 2003 –

Addressing the Security Council after their unanimous vote on a new United Nations resolution on Iraq today, several members of the 15-nation body said that unanimity was important to show the Iraqi people international solidarity for their plight, but also voiced the opinion that the text could have been improved.

Speaking after the vote, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation said that the resolution was able to create consensus, which he said was "a priority" of his country. He said the matters not mentioned in the resolution, including weapons of mass destruction, would have to be dealt with as well.

German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said his country shared the goals of the resolution's framers - reconstruction of Iraq under a democratically elected government - and recognized that, "This can only succeed when the Security Council appears as unified as possible."

While not wanting to stand in the way of Security Council unity, he said, "Nevertheless, had the amendments presented by Germany, France and Russia been fully integrated, this could have led to a better resolution."

Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sablière of France said, "unity of the Council" is a priority, but "with so much at stake, a more clear-cut text should have been produced."

Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry of the United Kingdom said, "Progress in Iraq would be all the more swift" if the divisions of the past were put behind. He called the resolution "excellent news for the people of Iraq, the Council and the United Nations."

He said the text would confirm and accelerate the transfer of power, send a clear signal that the international community was committed to rapid reconstruction of a free Iraq and ensure, "as conditions permit, a vital role for the United Nations in partnership with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi people."

Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya also said it was "important to achieve consensus in the Council," but had the resolution incorporated more improvements as suggested by Members States, "it would have been much more effective."

Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan said the resolution could have been improved with more specificity on the "principles that should guide the transition." He also said that he had suggested that the multinational force to be sent to Iraq have a "distinct identity" from the occupying forces, and since that was not in the resolution, Pakistan would not contribute troops.

Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad said Syria had joined the consensus after consultations with other representatives on the Council and others, including Japan. He said the resolution 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."

Spanish Ambassador Inocencio Arias said his country "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. The unanimous adoption of the resolution was "good news" for the Council, he said, because differences of the past were being reduced.

Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria also praised the unanimity of the resolution as it sent "a message to the Iraqi people that the time to regain full sovereignty is at hand."

Chile's Ambassador, Cristián Maquieira, said the consensus was "an example of the ability of the Council to come to agreement and understanding."

The Council President for October, Ambassador John Negroponte, spoke in his capacity as the representative from the United States and said that, by the unanimous adoption of the resolution, "the international community had demonstrated its wholehearted support for the people of Iraq."

The resolution, he said, 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."

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