New York

16 October 2003

Secretary-General's remarks to Security Council following adoption of Resolution 1511 on Iraq

Mr. President,

May I commend the members of the Security Council for having reached this significant agreement on what obviously is a particularly important resolution to address the complex situation in Iraq. The process has been difficult. But the outcome is 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.

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

As Secretary-General, I shall do my utmost to implement the mandate established by the Council, bearing in mind the constraints on building up the required capacity and my obligation to care for the safety and security of United Nations staff. I am grateful to the Council for the flexibility that the new resolution gives me in this respect.

Although at this moment the United Nations has only a skeleton presence on the ground, we are determined to continue helping the Iraqi people as best as we can, from both inside and outside the country, primarily in providing humanitarian assistance.

As circumstances permit, I plan to proceed with the other tasks indicated in the resolution. I have no doubt that we all look forward to the earliest possible establishment of an elected Government that will return Iraq to full sovereignty.

Thank you very much.