United Nations -- The Security Council November
8 unanimously agreed to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led
multinational force (MNF) in Iraq for one year.
"The unanimous adoption of this resolution
is a vivid demonstration of broad international support
for a 'federal, democratic, pluralist, and unified Iraq,'"
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said.
The resolution extended the MNF mandate
to December 31, 2006, unless the Iraqi government requests
that it leave sooner. Previous resolutions concerning the
force had it ending after the upcoming December national
elections to replace the transitional government. In addition
to the extension, the current resolution calls for a review
of the mandate by June 15, 2006.
Extending the mandate at this time instead
of waiting until the end of 2005, Bolton said, "will
facilitate continued international support for Iraq's security
and will give the newly elected Iraqi government time to
assume office, address constitutional questions, and consolidate
its authority before confronting issues such as those addressed
in this resolution."
The Iraqi people "continue to demonstrate
the courage that we have seen throughout the transition
process," Bolton said. "They went to the polls
in extraordinary numbers last month and approved a new constitution
last month, offering inspiration to other countries new
to democracy, and other parts of the Arab world."
"Iraq is quickly approaching another
major milestone in its transition -- there will be a new
election on December 15th. It is important this be a transparent,
participatory, and inclusive process for all Iraqi communities,"
In a letter to the Security Council October
31, Iraq Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari asked for the
one-year extension, saying, "Iraq is still confronted
by forces of terrorism that incorporate foreign elements
which carry out horrific attacks and terrorist acts in an
attempt to thwart political and economic development in
"The Iraqi security forces, which are
growing in size, capacity and experience day by day, need
more time to fill out their ranks, fully equip themselves
and complete their training with a view to assuming responsibility
for all security matters and providing adequate security
for the Iraqi people," Al-Jaafari said.
In a separate letter to the council October
31, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the
MNF "stands ready to continue to fulfill its mandate."
The Iraqi government and the MNF "have
developed an effective and cooperative security partnership
to address the evolving nature of Iraq's security environment,
including the continuing need to prevent and deter acts
of terrorism. This partnership plays a critical role in
the daily efforts to improve security throughout Iraq,"
Iraq and the MNF are developing a security
plan to set out the conditions necessary for transfer of
security responsibility from the MNF to the Iraqi Security
Forces, she said. "Conditions permitting, we look forward
to notable progress in the next year."
"Together, we will build toward the
day when the Iraqi forces assume full responsibility for
the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq,"
the secretary said.
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by
Denmark, Japan, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United
States, also extends the arrangements for depositing proceeds
from the export sales of oil, oil products and natural gas
into the Development Fund of Iraq and for the International
Advisory and Monitoring Board to monitor that development
Washington File United Nations Correspondent