|Thursday, 10 June 2004|
UN gives resounding "yes" to Iraq resolution
UNITED NATIONS, Wednesday (Reuters) The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt a U.S.-British resolution that formally ends the occupation of Iraq on June 30 but few believed the action would stop the daily bloodshed.
In a packed council chamber, the 15-nation body endorsed a "sovereign interim government" in Iraq and authorized a U.S.-led multinational force to keep the peace following a late addition on control of military forces sought by France.
"With today's vote, we acknowledge an important milestone. By June 30, Iraq will reassert its sovereignty, a step forward on the path towards a democratically elected government," said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who will become ambassador to Iraq at the end of the month. And in Sea Island, Georgia, U.S. President George W. Bush called the vote "a great victory for the Iraqi people."
But amid relief that the resolution was adopted and praise for how Washington had conducted the negotiations, several ambassadors emphasized the challenges ahead. "Only time will tell whether adoption of this resolution will help achieve a turnaround in Iraq," said Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Alexander Konuzin.
"The future remains loaded with dangers and uncertainties," said Algerian Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the only delegate from an Arab nation on the council.
The resolution paves the way for elections by giving a timetable of no later than Jan. 2005 for a poll on a transitional government. After a constitution is written, a permanent government is to take office by Jan. 31, 2006. The measure puts Iraq in charge of its oil proceeds and calls for the United Nations to help with elections, writing of a constitution and many other tasks.
It also gives the Iraqi interim government the right to order U.S. troops to leave at any time and makes clear the mandate of the international force will expire by the end of January 2006.
Nevertheless, the daily violence continued as guerrillas detonated car bombs in two Iraqi cities that killed 13 Iraqis and one U.S. soldier and wounded dozens.
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