INTERNATIONAL

U.S. gets mandate to run Iraq

(From left) The German Foreign Minister, Jochka Fischer, with his counterparts from France and Russia, Dominique de Villepin and Igor Ivanov, in Paris on Wednesday.

(From left) The German Foreign Minister, Jochka Fischer, with his counterparts from France and Russia, Dominique de Villepin and Igor Ivanov, in Paris on Wednesday.  

UNITED NATIONS MAY 22. In a victory for the United States, the United Nations Security Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution on Thursday, giving its backing to the United States-led administration of Iraq, and lifting economic sanctions against that country.

Following Wednesday night's joint announcement that the three bitter opponents of the U.S.-led war — France, Russia and Germany — would back the resolution rather than abstain, only Syria's vote remained in doubt.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, had expressed hope for a unanimous 15-0 vote for the U.S. plans for post-war Iraq — but Syria didn't show up for the vote. So the resolution only got 14 ``yes'' votes.

The final resolution represented a compromise, but left the underlying goal of the U.S. and its allies intact: Washington and London, as occupying powers, remain firmly in control of Iraq and its oil wealth ``until an internationally recognised, representative government is established.'' The U.N. has a stronger role in establishing a democratic government than initially envisioned, and the stature of a U.N. special representative in Iraq is increased. But the world body did not get the lead role that France, Russia and Germany would have liked.

Nonetheless, the French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, standing beside his German and Russian counterparts in Paris, said the three countries decided to vote for the post-war resolution because it ``opens the road'' for a central U.N. role.

The text ``does not go as far as we had hoped'' but ``the United Nations is back in the game,'' he said. ``We are convinced that the U.N. will be the focus for international action, due to its legitimacy, experience and capabilities.'' Many Council members had complained the resolution set no end to the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq — and many wanted the Council to have a significant role in monitoring reconstruction. The U.S. Ambassador, John Negroponte, insisted the U.S. would not accept any time limits on how long it could administer Iraq.

AP

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