COALITION PARTNERS BRIEF SECURITY COUNCIL ON SITUATION
IN IRAQ, CALLING FOR STEPPED UP INTERNATIONAL
INVOLVEMENT, ENHANCED SECURITY
Council Members Voice Support for Stronger
UN Role, Timetable for Return of Iraqi Sovereignty
NEW YORK, 21 August (UN Headquarters) -- Members of the Security Council could best honour the legacy of those who died on Tuesday as a result of the suicide bombing that demolished the United Nations complex in Baghdad with a sustained and unwavering commitment to build a better Iraq, the representative of the United States told the Council as it considered the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.
Briefing the Council on developments in Iraq, he said he had looked forward to report on progress made in Iraq, but today, “our step is a bit slower and our smile a bit forced” as the Council began to come to grips with the loss of Sergio Vieira de Mello and other United Nations staff who perished on Tuesday. One could surmise that the motive of the perpetrators was to restore the reign of Saddam and terrify those who wish to work to build a free and democratic Iraq; to prevent the emergence of a new Iraq whose people lived at peace; and to threaten the foundation carefully laid since Iraq’s liberation. The timing of Tuesday’s attack was no accident, as it occurred when measures were beginning to have a positive effect.
He said more than 30 nations had sent or committed forces to promote stability, and efforts were continuing to engage other nations as well. The Coalition Forces were organizing an Iraqi civil defence corps and training and recruiting police. The demilitarization of the Saddam regime had to be made permanent, but Iraq would need a military under democratic civilian control for its national defence, and training of an army was currently underway.
Also briefing the Council today, the representative of the United Kingdom said it was important not to underestimate the Coalition’s commitment to work along with the United Nations to build a prosperous and stable Iraq. “We cannot afford to fail”, he stressed, adding that the international community shared the same goals in Iraq, and the views on ways and means of delivering assistance were converging. International involvement should be stepped up to improve security and achieve development in Iraq. It was important to consider how the international community, individual countries and organizations could help in that regard, how the United Nations could do more to accelerate the process.
Stressing that there was a common conception of what needed to be done, he invited the Council to hold a comprehensive discussion to determine the scope for action that would further the achievement of a successful Iraq. Among the priorities was the need to enhance security, and it was necessary to consider what the Security Council needed to do in that respect. It was also necessary to consider how to meet the different policing needs in Iraq. He hoped in the coming days, the Council would be able to successfully debate them.
Following the briefings, speakers unanimously condemned the heinous attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad and extended their governments’ condolences to the families of the victims. They welcomed the Secretary-General’s statement that the United Nations would continue its work in Iraq and called for a more active and stronger role for the Organization. For that purpose it was necessary to ensure due security for international personnel. Several speakers stressed that at present the responsibility for that rested with the Coalition forces. All those efforts must be accompanied by establishing reliable Iraqi structures, especially in the areas of law and order.
The representative of France said a response to terrorism could not only be a security and military matter. The solution was, above all, political. One must give back to the Iraqis their sovereignty within the framework of an accelerated timetable and clear sequence of events. Only the United Nations had the impartiality and expertise to ensure the process. He called for more transparency on the part of the Coalition particularly in political, economic and financial matters, and warned that if weapons of mass destruction did exist, one must be concerned they could not be found in the context of terrorist acts. It was necessary for the Council to reconsider the mandate of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) within a reasonable time frame.
In conclusion, he wondered if “we would be in this state” if from the outset a genuine international partnership and global approach had been set up to address the political and social problems under the guidance of the United Nations.
Agreeing with the need to expand the United Nations role, Germany’s representative emphasized said that work towards sovereignty must be accelerated. Creation of the Governing Council was only a first step in that regard. Winning the hearts of the Iraqi people was directly linked to the time frame the Secretary-General had presented in his July report, as well as the end of occupation by foreign forces.
The representative of Cameroon reiterated it was necessary to add a military component to the United Nations missions in Iraq, possibly in the form of a multinational force with a clear and robust mandate. He called on the Coalition to be more open to the United Nations and its members, which meant more transparency on its part. The challenge of the reconstruction of Iraq must be met together to honour the memory of Sergio Vieira the Mello and other victims of the Tuesday attack.
Also speaking today were representatives of Bulgaria, China, Chile, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Guinea, Spain, Mexico, Angola and Syria.
The meeting was called to order at 10:42 a.m. and adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Today, during its second open meeting on Iraq after the suicide bombing that demolished the United Nations complex in Baghdad, killing at least 23 persons, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello, on Tuesday, the Security Council was expected to hear briefings on the latest developments in the country.
According to the Security Council schedule, the meeting was to be devoted to a briefing on the implementation of resolution 1483 (2003), which was adopted following the conflict in Iraq by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with Syria not participating, on 22 May.
By that text, the Council decided to: lift trade and financial sanctions on Iraq; extend the “oil-for-food” programme for six months; revisit the mandates of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at a later date; and request appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General. Also by the resolution, the Council supported the formation by the people of Iraq, with the help of the Authority (the occupying powers under unified command) and the Special Representative, of an Iraqi interim administration as a transitional administration run by Iraqis, until an internationally recognized, representative government established by the people of Iraq assumes the responsibilities of the Authority.
The Special Representative’s responsibilities, according to the resolution, involved coordination of United Nations activities in post-conflict processes in Iraq, coordinating among United Nations and international agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction activities and, in coordination with the Authority, assisting the people of Iraq. Among other things, he would work intensively with the Authority, the people of Iraq, and others concerned, to advance the establishment of national and local institutions for representative governance, including by working together to facilitate a process leading to an internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq.
Returning to the issue of Iraq again last week, the Council established the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), and welcomed the creation of the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council on 13 July as “an important step” towards the formation of an internationally recognized, representative government. That action was taken through the adoption of resolution 1500 (2003) by a vote of 14 in favour, with Syria abstaining.
The Assistance Mission was authorized for one year to support the Secretary-General in fulfilling his mandate under resolution 1483 (2003), and consolidating United Nations activities. The structure of the new mission, with a strength of over 300 civilian staff, and consisting of, among others, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, is set out in the Secretary-General’s report of 15 July.
Last month, the Security Council was addressed by a representative of the Governing Council, at a meeting during which it also heard from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Briefings by Representatives of Coalition Forces
JOHN D. NEGROPONTE (United States) said that on 22 May, the Council had joined to help the Iraqi people recover from decades of repression and United Nations Member States would contribute to Iraq’s reconstruction. The United States and the United Kingdom had committed to brief the Council on progress in the implementation of resolution 1483 (2003). He had looked forward to report on progress made in Iraq, but today, “our step is a bit slower and our smile a bit forced” as the Council began to come to grips with the loss of Sergio Vieira de Mello and other United Nations staff who perished on Tuesday.
He said that during the three months since the resolution had been adopted, Sergio had forged a path for United Nations contributions to Iraq’s reconstruction. For 60 years, the United Nations had been a partner to people in need all over the world. They were unarmed civilian professionals -- they were men and women from every background who lent a hand when called on. “They are no one’s enemy”, he said.
Extending his Government’s sympathy to the victims and their families, he expressed appreciation for the offers of many nations for the heartwrenching work at the site. While the identities of the perpetrators were not known, one could surmise that the motive was to restore the rein of Saddam and terrify those who wish to work to build a free and democratic Iraq; to prevent the emergence of a new Iraq whose people lived at peace with themselves and their neighbours; and to threaten the foundation carefully laid since Iraq’s liberation.
With concrete support from the international community, the Iraqi people would realize the potential of their nation, he said, but the sustained lack of investment in infrastructure had left Iraq ill equipped to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. Basic services must be restored and expanded, among other things, and the voice of the people must be reclaimed from enforced silence. The rule of law, enshrined in a new constitution and with respect for human rights and humanitarian law, must replace the rule of terror. Resolution 1483 had provided the framework for Iraq’s resurrection. It was up to the Governing Council to guide the country, among other things, by naming ministers, drafting a constitution and holding elections leading to an internationally recognized, representative government.
Oil revenues, donor funds and assets of the former regime were being spent for the benefit of the Iraqi people, he continued, and a budget of $6.1 billion had been developed for 2003. The Coalition had worked side by side with United Nations specialized agencies -- and progress would not have been possible without them -- in working to improve economic conditions. With payments of pensions and salaries, $20 million per month was being injected. The Coalition was buying wheat and other products from Iraqi farmers. Currency unification had been set for October.
Regarding the security situation, he said the Coalition had initiated programmes to enable Iraqis to develop the capacity to foil saboteurs, and the Forces were organizing an Iraqi civil defence corps. Several thousand Iraqis had been hired into a civilian protection service to protect infrastructures, and tens of thousands of Iraqi police had answered the call to return to work and recruitment and training were under way to add thousands more. About 38,000 police were currently on patrol, and the ultimate goal was to have 65,000 police country-wide. The Coalition had worked with Iraqis to reopen police stations, courts and prisons. Some countries had already contributed expertise, equipment or training to police, notably Canada, Denmark, Singapore and South Korea. Help from other countries was needed as well.
The demilitarization of the Saddam regime had to be made permanent, but Iraq would need a military for its national defence, and training of an army was currently underway. However, it must be ensured that the security forces would be under democratic civilian control, he added. The Iraqi people and the Coalition welcomed the participation of the international community to help bring security to Iraq. More than 30 nations had sent or committed forces to promote stability, and efforts were continuing to engage other nations as well.
The timing of Tuesday’s attack was no accident, as it occurred when measures were beginning to have a positive effect. In the face of the attempt to sabotage the future of Iraq, only one response was possible, he said -- the members of the Council must stand together and implement measures to suppress terrorism. Members of the Council could best honour the legacy of those who died on Tuesday with a sustained and unwavering commitment to build a better Iraq.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) joined Mr. Negroponte in expressing horror and outrage in connection with the Tuesday attack and admiration for Mr. Vieira de Mello who had lost his life in the attack.
Regarding the situation in Iraq, he said that progress could be seen “almost across the board”, and the international community would face together the challenges that remained. Despite the attack, the resolve was strong to build a stable future that the people of Iraq deserved. “We cannot allow a small minority to jeopardize that future”, he pointed out. The goal remained to build as quickly as possible a sovereign Iraq run by the Iraqi people for the Iraqi people.
Experience in the Balkans and Africa underlined the difficulties in developing democracy, the judiciary and penal systems, as well as law and order in countries in the aftermath of conflict, he said. The United Nations had much experience, which could be useful in that respect. For example, it had significant experience in organizing elections -- a painstaking process. The challenge of reconstruction was always great, but Iraq, of course, was more difficult in many ways, as Saddam had inflicted great damage on the country.
Turning to the humanitarian activities and the contribution of the Coalition Provisional Authority to the reconstruction of the country, he said that provision of basic services was among the priorities. Food distribution had been restored, and efforts were underway to identify where continued support would be needed. Most hospitals were now running, and over 22 million doses of vaccines, including measles, hepatitis B, and polio, had been provided. The education system was being envigorated. By the end of June, most schools had been opened. Review of textbooks and their availability was under way. The water sector continued to be a priority, with many breaks in the network repaired. While the system had been badly hurt by sabotage, efforts were under way to upgrade the existing plants.
The Governing Council was an important partner in the determination of the future of the country, he stressed. Among its achievements, was the formation of a commission to work on the new constitution of the country. Efforts were being made to ensure the effectiveness of Iraqi institutions at the local level, and teams were being deployed to help build the Iraqi provincial governments, with women’s participation. The Coalition Provisional Authority was supporting the creation of a culture which would respect human rights and the rule of law. Work was being done to ensure transitional justice. Teams were collecting evidence and working to preserve existing information regarding the mass graves found in the country.
Restoration of law and order rested in part on the existence of an effective justice system, he continued. The judicial review committee was in the process of screening judges and prosecutors. The central criminal court had been established as a model of fairness and judicial effectiveness to handle the most important cases.
In conclusion, he said that no member of the Council should underestimate the difficulty or importance of the challenges in Iraq. For many years, Saddam had oppressed the people and squandered the wealth of the country. Iraq’s people were still coming to terms with the fact that hundreds of thousands had been killed by their own Government. It was also important not to underestimate the Coalition’s commitment to work along with the United Nations to build a prosperous and stable Iraq. “We cannot afford to fail”, he stressed, adding that the international community shared the same goals in Iraq, and the views on ways and means of delivery were converging. It was necessary to act together to build a better future for the country, and international involvement should be stepped up to improve security and achieve development there. It was important to consider how the international community, individual countries and organizations could help in that regard, how the United Nations could do more to accelerate the process.
There was a common conception of what needed to be done, and it was important to determine the scope for action that would further the achievement of a successful Iraq, he said. Among the priorities, was the need to enhance security, and it was necessary to consider what the Security Council needed to do in that respect. It was also necessary to consider how to meet the different policing needs in Iraq. Those issues were crucial, and he hoped in the coming days, the Council would be able to successfully debate them.
MICHEL DUCLOS (France) said that given the attack of Tuesday, it was too early to draw final lessons. One should be careful about simplistic explanations. The United Nations, Council members and the Coalition Authority should remain humble and take time for reflection and analysis, beginning with some soul searching. The greatest possible transparency was necessary. The objective for Iraq had not changed -- to ensure a speedy political transition leading to an end of occupation and enabling Iraqis to regain their sovereignty under a regime that respected the rights and freedoms of everyone.
The basic requirement for successful political and economic reconstruction was a return to security and order. That responsibility was incumbent upon the occupying powers, pursuant to international law. What had happened on 19 August, preceded by other attacks on civilian targets, was heinous, and those responsible must be brought to justice. It showed, however, that the lack of security remained the priority problem in Iraq. The country unfortunately had become a theatre of operations for terrorists.
Security systems and measures to ensure the safety of individuals and property in Iraq were needed. The United Nations could not carry out its mandate without the necessary security. He asked the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States for any more information on the existing security mechanism. What was the system for transmitting information and what was the alert system? What enhancements were planned qualitatively and quantitatively? How could civilian and humanitarian institutions be protected with full respect for their independence?
A response to terrorism could not only be a security and military matter, he said. The solution was, above all, political as well. One must give back to the Iraqis their sovereignty within the framework of an accelerated timetable and clear sequence of events, he said, quoting Sergio Vieira de Mello: “It is urgent that there is a clear and precise definition of the sequence of events which will lead to the end of the military occupation”. That political transition would have a greater chance of success if guided by the Iraqis themselves with the assistance of the international community as a whole, incarnated by the United Nations. Only the United Nations had the impartiality and expertise to ensure the process. Also, the stabilization of Iraq depended on the ability to deal with crimes against humanity by the former regime and the establishment of mechanisms for national reconciliation and respect for human rights.
Proliferation was also a security problem, he continued. There was still no information on weapons of mass destruction. If they indeed existed, one must be concerned they could not be found in the context of terrorist acts. It was therefore necessary for the Council to reconsider the mandate of UNMOVIC within a reasonable time frame. The UNMOVIC must play a central role in certifying the effective disarmament of Iraq.
A second basic requirement for reconstruction of Iraq was the joint mobilization of the entire international community. That was only possible if the Coalition Provisional Authority acknowledged they could not succeed alone. Sharing the burden and responsibility also included sharing information and authority. The United Nations and the international community could only play an effective role if the reconstruction process was transparent in all its aspects, in particular political, economic and financial ones. For the donor conference in October, the international community must be fully informed on the financial and oil resources of Iraq. Without any further delay, the International Advisory and Monitoring Board of the Development Fund for Iraq must be established.
In conclusion, he wondered if “we would be in this state” if from the outset a genuine international partnership and global approach had been set up to address the political and social problems under the guidance of the United Nations.
Mr. TRAUWEIN (Germany) said he shared with the whole Secretariat the deeply-felt grief over the loss of close friends and colleagues, among whom was Sergio Vieira de Mello, a truly devoted servant of the Organization. They and their work would not be forgotten. Tuesday’s attack had emphasized the difficulty of the challenges in Iraq, but it did not change the goals that United Nations was pursuing in Iraq. Pursuant to resolution 1483 and in accordance with international law, restoration of the country was primarily the responsibility of the occupying forces. It was also necessary to restore the full sovereignty of Iraq.
Germany was involved in the humanitarian field in Iraq and would continue those efforts, he said. It did not exclude further participation in the civilian sector. Work towards sovereignty needed to be accelerated. The Governing Council was only the first intermediary step in that regard. It was also necessary to strengthen the vital role of the United Nations, for the more it was strengthened, the more support it would gain. It was important to consider how to win the hearts of the Iraqi people. That issue was directly linked to the timeframe that the Secretary-General had presented in his July report, as well as the end of occupation by foreign forces. The attack had been intended to intimidate international efforts. As the Secretary-General had pointed out, the international community owed it to Sergio Vieira de Mello that the Coalition Provisional Authority, the United Nations, the international community and the Iraqi population came together now.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said the best way to honour the memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello and his colleagues was to continue the work that had begun in Iraq and enable its people to build a free and democratic Iraq. He was deeply impressed by the scope of the work the United States and United Kingdom had carried out in Iraq for the political and economic reconstruction of the country. His country was among those that had committed to the process of stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.
It was now crucial, he continued, that the international community, through the United Nations, regained its unity and helped the Iraqi people to regain its own destiny. The United Nations had the necessary expertise and experience to do outstanding work in Iraq as had been proved by the work of Sergio and his colleagues so far. Regarding the political process, the creation of a Governing Council had been an important step and the beginning of an internationally recognized government. Through that process, Iraq would regain its full sovereignty and would be able to carry out the difficult transition from an authoritarian and internationally isolated regime to a democratic Iraq living in peace with its neighbours.
Ways must be sought to enhance the security of United Nations staff in Iraq and the world, but the attack should not deter the international community from the task of playing an increasingly important and active role in Iraq, particularly through the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). Only unity in the Council would enable Iraq to regain its full sovereignty and to take control of its future, one of freedom and democracy.
ZHANG YISHAN (China) said that August 19 had been a day of shock and sorrow. The Chinese Government strongly condemned the violent attack against the United Nations personnel, and China’s President, Hu Jintao, had made a statement on the incident, conveying China’s condolences to the bereaved families and the wounded. The Chinese Foreign Minister had also sent a telegram to the Secretary-General. Especially heartbreaking was the death of Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, who had worked tirelessly for the maintenance of peace. His dedication, his courage and his commitment to peace and justice would always be remembered.
Today’s briefings would help the Council follow more closely the developments in Iraq, he continued. The attack against the United Nations headquarters in Iraq and the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Iraq earlier this month proved once again that security remained the primary issue there today. The lack of security would obstruct the normal process of humanitarian assistance and the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq. An early restoration of peace and stability to the country had become the most urgent task. As the Secretary-General had pointed out in his report on 17 July, “the Coalition Provisional Authority, not the United Nations, was responsible for administering Iraq, for providing for the welfare of the people and for restoring conditions of security and stability”. He hoped that with the active efforts by relevant parties, stability would be restored to Iraq at an early date, and the security of the United Nations personnel would be effectively ensured.
He welcomed the active measures adopted by the Governing Council to restore sovereignty, such as appointing administrative department leaders and laying the ground for the formulation of a new constitution. He hoped that those measures would be conducive to the early establishment of a broad-based new government supported by the Iraqi people. The successful reconstruction of Iraq could not be separated from extensive participation and active cooperation of the international community. The United Nations should play an active and effective role in Iraq’s reconstruction.
Despite the attack, the mission carried out by the United Nations in Iraq would not be brought to an end, he said. He hoped that resolution 1500 adopted by the Council last week would mark the beginning of a substantive role of the United Nations in Iraq. Alongside the rest of the international community, China would continue to support that role and help the Iraqi people restore stability and order as early as possible.
HERALDO MUNOZ (Chile) said he understood completely how difficult it was to talk about concrete achievements in Iraq in a context marked by a deadly terrorist attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. His Government strongly condemned the attack and insisted on the need to bring the perpetrators to justice. The United Nations had paid with human lives for its right to participate in the restoration of Iraq.
Terrorism that wanted violence to prevail over security and peace manifested itself in many places, he continued, and the struggle against terrorism should not be an isolated individual effort -– it must be a joint effort of the international community, and the latest events reconfirmed that. Despite the loss of lives in Baghdad, the international community should not allow terrorist actions to divert it from the goal of obtaining sovereignty for the Iraqi people. New and greater efforts were needed to stabilize the situation in the country.
The new circumstances required the Council to focus on the security of United Nations personnel in different parts of the world, including Iraq. In that respect, it was necessary to review the measures taken thus far and make necessary corrections. That task must be accomplished jointly by the Council, the Secretariat and, of course, the Coalition forces in Iraq. It was also necessary for the Council to begin seeking new mechanisms, different ways of approaching future work in Iraq. The starting point of such reflection must be the decision -- reaffirmed yesterday -- to continue United Nations efforts in Iraq. Any regression would be the triumph of terrorists.
In conclusion, he said it was necessary to reflect on the ways and means of increased cooperation in the reconstruction of Iraq and provision of humanitarian assistance there. It might be appropriate to take advantage of the experience gained in Afghanistan and Kosovo. There was no doubt that reconstruction of Iraq was a test in addition to a commitment for the entire international community.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said sadly, today’s meeting coincided with one of the most serious tragedies to affect the United Nations in its history. The United Nations in Baghdad was an innocent victim, a victim which was there to help the people of Iraq, under a specific mandate provided by the Council. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s statement that the United Nations would stay on in Iraq to fulfill its mandate. He was deeply impressed by the examples of heroism of international civil servants in the aftermath of the attack and honoured the decision of many to stay on in Iraq.
It was obvious that security for the United Nations and its personnel must be improved. Responsibility for that security, as required under resolutions 1472 (2003) and 1483 (2003), rested with the Coalition Authorities. Without security, the objectives of the United Nations could not be realized, he said.
To combat terrorism in Iraq, it would be essential to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which would require several parallel steps by the international community. He therefore hoped the Coalition Provisional Authority would continue to provide humanitarian assistance with the growing support of the United Nations and continue to improve economic and social conditions. The United Nations would have to assume a larger and wider role in Iraq in order to enhance legitimacy and acceptability of the endeavours of the international community; bring stability and progress to Iraq; and establish a clear, inclusive and indigenous political process in Iraq, with a clear sequence, leading to a fully representative Iraqi government which should assume increasing responsibilities for all aspects of governance in Iraq.
All international endeavours in Iraq should be pursued within the framework of applicable international principles, including respect for sovereignty, respect for the rights of the Iraqi people and respect for their right to control their own resources, as well as respect for the religious and cultural traditions.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that appraisals of what had happened on 19 August had been given by his President and Foreign Minister in their messages and public statements. In particular, they had emphasized that the loss of Sergio Vieira de Mello was an irreparable loss and that there could be no justification for the attack. The United Nations had become a target of terrorists, although its goal was to overcome the consequences of the conflict and re-establish peace in the country. Despite the terrorist act, the participation of the international community must continue. A necessary condition for such participation was ensuring a broad collective basis for involving the international community in the reconstruction of Iraq.
Today’s statements clearly showed that all members of the Council desired a stronger and more active role of the United Nations in Iraq, he continued. For that purpose, it was necessary to ensure due security for international personnel in Iraq. At present, the responsibility for that lay with the Coalition forces. However, he was prepared to support any additional measures to enhance security for international staff in Iraq. That task was linked to the issue of safety in Iraq as a whole, which remained an area of serious concern. Solving the security problems could only be done in conjunction with the political process and a clear timetable for the restoration of sovereignty, as well as cooperation in solving social tasks and achieving economic recovery. All those efforts must be accompanied by establishing reliable Iraqi structures in the areas of law and order.
Today, the Council had heard an invitation from Ambassador Parry to hold a comprehensive discussion on the ways of enhancing international participation in Iraq, he said. He was prepared to take part in such a discussion. Resolution 1500 was a good point of departure in that regard, along with many proposals presented today. For such a discussion to be as fruitful as possible it would be useful to listen to the recommendations of the Secretary-General. The discussion needed to begin as soon as possible.
IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) said the entire world could only condemn the heinous act committed against United Nations staff members who were working with perseverance to help Iraqis recover their dignity, sovereignty and prosperity. A month ago, his delegation had suggested that the Council should begin to consider the best way the United Nations could contribute towards resolving the security question. The time had come to take the appropriate decisions. It was necessary to add a military component to the United Nations mission in Iraq, possibly in the form of a multinational force with a clear and robust mandate.
He said the Secretary-General had confirmed his determination to continue the work left incomplete by Mr. Vieira De Mello and his team. It was up to the Council to create the ultimate conditions for their work to be successful. He called upon neighbouring countries to cooperate and support the endeavour. He also called on the Coalition to be more open to the United Nations and its members, which meant more transparency on its part. The challenge of the reconstruction of Iraq must be met together to honour the memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello and other victims of the Tuesday attack.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) said that the heinous attack in Iraq had caused untold horror and sadness. He expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the attack and the United Nations family as a whole. Through the attack, the international community had lost one of its most dedicated servants –-Sergio Vieira de Mello. In the aftermath of the terrorist act, the Council had a vital responsibility to reflect on the best ways and means of thwarting the maniacal desires of terrorists. It was no coincidence that the attack had taken place only several days after the adoption of resolution 1500. The attack had been planned and carried out in such a way as to make it the deadliest one in the history of the United Nations. Its goal was to prevent restoration of the country under the momentum established by the Coalition and with the help of the international community.
The efforts of the Coalition had made it possible to put an end to years of suffering by the Iraqi people, and he welcomed the accomplishments achieved in the country. It was gratifying that the people of Iraq were increasingly taking part in deciding their own future. Tuesday’s attack strengthened his conviction that the Council needed to strengthen its support for the restoration of Iraq. As odious as it was, the terrorist act must not discourage the international community, which must become increasingly aware of the need to give a broader mandate to the United Nations in the country.
Turning to the challenges in Iraq, including security, he said it would be useful for the Secretary-General to evaluate the situation on the ground with a view to establishing safer conditions for continuation of the Organization’s work. Security was to receive utmost attention to ensure success. Also, everything needed to be done to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. He wanted to encourage the continued efforts of the Coalition, along with the international community, to build a new and prosperous Iraq.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain) said the unthinkable had happened -- the United Nations had been attacked in an outrageous act. In the tasks to be addressed, the area of security was the most important. With the attack, the terrorists had sought to create chaos to divide the international community. They must not succeed in their intentions, and the international community must remain firm in its efforts to bring peace to Iraq.
It would be necessary to protect the United Nations and humanitarian staff effectively with respect for their independence, he said. Equally important was to help the Iraqi people. He supported the establishment of the Council which must lead to a democratically elected government.
It was essential that the international community respond generously during the donor conference in Madrid in October to help the country in its economic recovery, he said. His country was in Iraq with one objective -- returning peace and freedom in Iraq. It had sent a brigade including Spanish troops and some from El Salvador, Dominican Republic and Honduras.
He said now was not a time for political recriminations. The tragic events of Tuesday could only prompt countries to reaffirm their will that the United Nations would play a continuing and growing role to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people.
ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said his country had received the news of the attack on Tuesday as an attack on all the members of the United Nations. His Government had already conveyed its condolences to the families of those killed in the attack, the United Nations and the governments involved. The international community must not yield to fear and stop its efforts to combat terrorism. A deliberate attack against humanitarian staff was a war crime, a crime against humanity, which should be prosecuted as such. It was important to bring those responsible to justice. The Council must also send a very clear signal and take measures to enhance the protection of humanitarian staff, taking effective action in that regard.
Mexico deplored the death of Sergio Vieira de Mello, which had left an indelible mark, he continued. Mr. Vieira de Mello had inspired all the staff in Iraq, and all those who survived him needed to fulfill the mandate of the mission in Iraq. He had not stayed closed in his office. Instead, he had strived to obtain a clear picture of what the Iraqi people wanted. He had also said that the Coalition forces needed to give the Iraqi people more confidence, in particular through providing a clear timetable for their withdrawal. He hoped that the appeal of Mr. Vieira de Mello and the Secretary-General would be heeded, and that the timetable would soon be presented. Without that, the reconstruction of Iraq would be increasingly difficult.
While the whole international community had been attacked on 19 August, he said, the most direct victims of the attack were the Iraqi people. The United Nations was not a party to the conflict. It was in Iraq side by side with the Iraqi people, and only the United Nations had the legal and moral mandate to confront those who attacked international peace and security. For that reason, the Organization must continue its efforts in the country. It was also its duty to support and direct efforts of the international community.
In accordance with resolution 1483 and international law, the occupying powers were responsible for security in Iraq, he continued. The Organization was providing humanitarian support for the reconstruction of the country. It was important to reaffirm and broaden the United Nations presence in Iraq and possibly also review the terms determining it. In examining the reports by Ambassadors Parry and Negroponte, the Council needed to consider the future of the United Nations presence in Iraq. He shared the opinion that Iraq needed the support and renewed efforts of the international community in order to restore the rule of law and recover its sovereignty. It was the responsibility of the Council to organize and guide such efforts.
JULIO HELDER DE MOURA LUCAS (Angola) said the work done in Iraq by the Coalition had been impressive. The death of Sergio Vieira de Mello was a huge loss, not only to his family and friends and to the United Nations, but also to the countless people he had helped during his career. In the aftermath of the tragedy, many questions had arisen, such as the following. Why the attack against the United Nations? What went wrong with United Nations security? Who were the perpetrators? What to do to alleviate Iraqi resistance? Had international terrorism infiltrated Iraq? What measures were needed to conquer the hearts and minds of Iraqis? Those were some of the questions which the Council and the coalition powers must answer in order to move the process of pacification and reconstruction forward. The coalition powers had no option left but to carry on their task, no matter the costs.
The United Nations had taken a clear stand that its operation in Iraq would continue, he said. It was necessary that the Coalition Authority, the United Nations and the Governing Council closed ranks and stepped up the fight against terrorism. The Council must find the most appropriate ways to ensure the security of United Nations and humanitarian personnel and the UNAMI. Also, measures must be taken to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and the Iraqi people, and ways must be found how best to assist the Iraqi people to regain their sovereignty.
Speaking in his national capacity, President of the Council FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said that grief had engulfed the United Nations and the Security Council after the attack in Baghdad. His Government had denounced the despicable act of 19 August, stressing the importance of a further and enhanced United Nations role in the country. Syria supported the beliefs that Mr. Vieira de Mello had so faithfully upheld –- those regarding the need to end the occupation of Iraq and the return of its sovereignty. The Syrian Government had made every effort to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, providing medicine and assistance, which was direly needed.
He went on to say that the Arab Ministers for Foreign Affairs, members of the Follow-up and Action Committee of the Council of the League of Arab States, had held an important meeting in Cairo on 5 August, in which they discussed the situation in the Arab sphere in all its aspects. The Arab Ministers had reaffirmed the need to end the foreign occupation of Iraq and quickly establish a national government there in accordance with a clearly-defined schedule, stressing the need for a pivotal role for the United Nations. The Organization also needed to cooperate with the League of Arab States and other regional and national actors to that end under the aegis of the Security Council. The Ministers also agreed to establish a committee, comprised of several countries, including Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia, as well as the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, to follow-up the developments in Iraq and establish the necessary international contacts in that regard.
In conclusion, he said that through its history, Iraq had come out victorious, overcoming many difficulties. He was confident that Iraq would overcome the present hardship thanks to the unity of its people and the support of its Arab brothers and the international community.
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