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Powell Begins Talks With Security Council Members on New Iraq Resolution

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2003 – The United States is consulting with other members of the U.N. Security Council on a draft resolution that would, if adopted, establish a multinational force in Iraq and seek a plan from the new Iraqi Governing Council for its political evolution, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters here Sept. 3.

He cited the appointment and swearing-in of a cabinet by the governing council and the turnover of most of central Iraq to Polish control. Powell said the resolution would continue the "evolutionary process that we have always had in mind (toward) eventually restoring sovereignty back to the Iraqi people for their own country, their own wealth, their own lives (and) their own destiny."

The secretary noted that while a unified command and multinational military force already is present in Iraq, the draft resolution might lead more nations to join the effort.

"There are some 30 countries who are there now, another 10 on the way, and a number of others are considering whether they will be able to contribute to such a force," Powell said. "And we hope with this demonstration of the will of the international community that we'll encourage more countries or make it easier for some countries who are looking at the prospects now to make such a contribution."

Powell said U.S. casualties since the end of major combat operations had nothing to do with the resolution. "Terrorists are trying to destroy the hopes and dreams of the Iraqi people," he said. "And the United States and its coalition partners and, I believe, the international community will not tolerate this kind of terrorist activity in Iraq any more than we are going to tolerate it anywhere else."

The unified command the draft resolution calls for would have an American commander who would report regularly to the United Nations, Powell said. Other elements call for expanding the U.N.'s role in rebuilding the country and creating a system for elections, and encouraging international financial institutions to help the reconstruction effort.

On the political front, he said, the draft resolution seeks to have the United Nations invite the governing council to submit a plan, program and timetable for writing a new constitution, putting government institutions in place and holding free elections.

"At that point, after free elections, you have the conditions for sovereignty," Powell said. The Coalition Provisional Authority and the military presence in Iraq would then be a partnership between a new Iraqi government led by Iraqis and anyone the new leaders wanted to help with the process, he added.

Powell said he anticipates hearing reactions and suggestions from his Security Council colleagues by week's end. "Then, next week we will see where we are at the beginning of the week, and push it as aggressively as we can."

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