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Iraq : The Unity of the International Community Is More Necessary than Ever

Iraq : The Unity of the International Community Is More Necessary than Ever

Iraq: Adoption of UNSCR 1546: Explanation of the vote given by France’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York, June 8, 2004. Sources: Embassy of France, London, and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations.

1. France has voted in favour of UNSCR 1546 which we have just unanimously passed. France approached the discussion of this resolution with three goals for the Iraqi people and the United Nations:

  • to ensure that the Iraqi interim government will have all the attributes of sovereignty and complete authority to govern the country after 30 June in spite of the need to maintain a very large foreign military presence;

  • to give the Iraqi people credible assurances that the political process is continuing and that the presence of foreign troops is temporary and limited in time in order to clarify the political horizon of the Iraqi people and assure them that the coming transition period will end as soon as possible;

  • to entrust a mandate to the United Nations which guarantees the credibility of the Organization and which is realistic in the light of what it can do in the present circumstances in Iraq.

The first two elements are in our opinion essential for the Iraqis to support the current political process and have confidence in the new Iraqi government. The third allows for the role of the United Nations to be preserved in the settlement of crises and, as far as possible, for the security of those who will act in the Organization’s name on the ground.

2. France had emphasized, from the first informal consultations in the Security Council, the importance she attached to the mandate that the Council would entrust to the United Nations and the legal framework for the action of the multinational force.

  • on the first point, the aim was to allow the Iraqis to take maximum advantage of UN expertise in the extension of the action of M. Brahimi and Ms Perelli, to whom we pay tribute, while taking into account the security conditions.

  • on the second, the aim was to take account of the change resulting from the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty to revise the mandate of the multinational force while placing it clearly in the framework of international law.

3. Throughout the negotiations, France was both demanding, because the stakes are considerable, and constructive because she believes the unity of the international community is more necessary than ever. On many points, the final text meets the demands figuring in the proposed Franco-German amendments. Accordingly:

  • the Iraqi interim government will have complete responsibility and authority to govern the country; several provisions of the resolution were adjusted to comply with this principle, especially those on the control of the Iraqi armed forces and security forces, the coordination of international aid, the use of the country’s natural resources and the conditions for making foreign advisers available;

  • the various stages in the political process have been endorsed by the resolution, specifically the timetable for elections and for the end of the transition period, no later than the end of 2005. We already know that the organization of the national conference, conceived for July by M. Brahimi, and especially the elections, to be held no later than January 2005, will be crucial. These elections will have to be organized freely and democratically and permit all Iraqis to vote. We are pleased that the future Iraqi interim government will continue to benefit in this context from the support of the United Nations in the framework of the clear mandate, adjusted to circumstances, provided for in the resolution;

  • the sovereign government may at any time ask for the mandate of the multinational force to be revised or ended, and this request will be binding on the Security Council. The mandate is in addition limited in time; it will be re-examined no later than 12 months from now; it will end in all likelihood at the end of the political transition, whose expiry date is explicitly mentioned (31 December 2005). Between now and then, the multinational force, like the Iraqi forces, will have to act in compliance with international law, in particular the law of armed conflict;

  • lastly, the resolution clearly states that from this point on the Iraqi armed forces and security forces will not be part of the multinational force. They are to be placed under the sole authority of the Iraqi government and it will be up to the government to decide whether to commit them, if it deems it necessary or desirable, to multinational force operations.

We had insisted on these last two points so that the relationship between the interim government and the multinational force reflects the sovereignty that the Iraqi interim government will have after 1 July. We note that our wishes have been largely taken into account. We thank the co-authors for this.

4. However, with regard to the implementation of the mandate of the multinational force, in particular the conditions of engagement in the event of sensitive offensive operations, the resolution states that the interim government and the multinational force will have to reach an agreement. But it does not spell out that would happen in the event of disagreement. That is why France would have preferred the text to mention that the final say in this case would fall to the Iraqi interim government, sovereign in the territory of Iraq. As this provision was not explicitly requested by the Iraqi leaders, France was satisfied at the final adjustment made to paragraph 11 of the arrangements. France cannot moreover imagine the multinational force going against the opinion of Iraq’s sovereign government.

5. With regard to the aid that regional organizations might make to the stabilization of Iraq, France would like to see the decision-making autonomy of these organizations preserved within their own executive bodies. As a member of several regional organizations herself, France will make a decision – if need be – when the time comes. It is also quite natural, as the text says, for the agreement of the Iraqi government to be sought.

6. All in all, the Security Council has today assumed its share of responsibility. It has done so by taking into account the demands presented by the Iraqi interim government and within the limits the latter had set for these. It will be up to this government, which we hope will succeed and with which we are ready to work, to win the confidence of the Iraqi people through its capacity to govern fully in complete independence. That is what we want as the stability of Iraq and the region depends on it..

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).