Security Council vote shows important support for Iraq, U.S. envoy Bolton says
United Nations -- The decision of the United Nations Security Council to extend the mandate of the Multinational Force in Iraq is an important show of support for the country, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said November 28.
The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution, drafted by the United States, that extends the mandate of the 160,000-member multinational force (MNF) in Iraq starting December 3. The mandate is to run until December 31, 2007, but can be terminated earlier at the request of the Iraqi government.
Extending the mandate was an important decision by the Security Council, Bolton said, because "it shows the resolve to continue to cooperate with the government of Iraq."
The decision also demonstrates "to all the countries in the region that the Security Council remains strongly of the view that we need to see stability in Iraq and continued progress toward democracy," he said.
"The fact that it was a unanimous vote shows that all the countries want to contribute to it. ... We all share the same objective. That is something neighboring countries need to take into account," the ambassador said.
Bolton added that the council's move is important for the upcoming meeting in Amman, Jordan, between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. (See related article.)
The multinational force in Iraq "continues to play a vital role in the security and stability of Iraq. It is also working in close partnership with the Iraqi government toward the development of Iraq's ability to assume responsibility for the country's security," the ambassador said.
The council acted in response to a November 14 request from Maliki, who said that establishing security and permanent stability are among the highest priorities of the Iraqi government. He said that the Iraqi security forces are playing a progressively greater role and an increasing number of governorates are coming under the control of Iraq forces.
"The people of Iraq are determined to establish a stable and peaceful democracy for themselves and a proper basis for building a vital economy," the prime minister said. "This vision for the future of Iraq cannot become a reality without the help of the international community.”
The Security Council resolution also extends arrangements for depositing the proceeds from export sales of oil, petroleum products and natural gas into the Development Fund for Iraq. The fund is monitored by an international advisory and monitoring board.
A letter from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attached to the resolution reports on the progress Iraqi security forces have made in the past year in developing their capabilities and shouldering a greater portion of the responsibility for Iraq's security.
"The Government of Iraq and MNF have agreed on three common goals: Iraqi assumption of recruiting, training, equipping and arming of the Iraqi security forces; Iraqi assumption of command and control over Iraqi forces; and transferring responsibility for security to the Government of Iraq. We look forward to recommendations from the newly formed high-level working group on how these goals can best be achieved," Rice said.
The cooperation and partnership between the MNF and the government "has evolved over time to incorporate the increasing leadership by Iraqi security forces in fighting and deterring terrorism and other violent acts throughout Iraq's 18 provinces," Rice said.
For more information on U.S. policies, see Iraq Update.
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