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IN THE NEWS - October 18, 2003: United Nations Approves U.S. Resolution on Iraq - 2003-10-17

This is Steve Ember with In the News, from VOA Special English.

The United Nations Security Council this week approved an American resolution on Iraq. All fifteen members voted Thursday to support the resolution. These included France, Germany, Russia and Syria, which had all opposed the war in Iraq.

The United States says it hopes the resolution will get more countries to provide troops and aid to help rebuild Iraq. Several countries had said they would not send troops unless the Security Council passed a new resolution. The United States and Britain plan to request more aid at an international conference next week in Spain.

The resolution calls for the establishment of an American-led international force in Iraq. The resolution also urges U-N members to provide troops and money to support the occupation. The plan gives Iraq's temporary governing council until December fifteenth to set time limits to write a constitution and hold elections.

The new resolution had been changed five times since August. The U-N wanted greater influence in political decisions about Iraq. And France, Russia and Germany wanted the United States to return power within a few months to a temporary government in Baghdad.

The United States rejected these demands. But this week it presented new compromises.

The changes give the United Nations greater influence in the constitutional process in Iraq. The changes also guarantee the need for additional approval to keep the international force in Iraq after a new government is sworn in. But the resolution does not set a date for Iraqis to take power.

The vote Thursday came after days of negotiations. France, Germany and Russia agreed to support the resolution after a conference call among their leaders. The call took place hours before the vote. Those three countries were the leading opponents of the war in Iraq.

After the vote, however, France, Germany and Russia said they would not provide troops or additional money to support the coalition efforts in Iraq. They said the resolution does not go far enough to re-establish Iraqi control.

The Bush administration increased its efforts to seek a new resolution after the bombing at the U-N headquarters in Baghdad in August. The chief U-N diplomat in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was among the twenty-two people killed.

In September, President Bush told the General Assembly that the United States would deal with calls to expand U-N involvement in the change of power in Iraq. But Secretary General Kofi Annan demanded greater independence and security guarantees for the United Nations in exchange.

The Security Council remains divided on the future of Iraq. But a spokeswoman for French President Jacques Chirac said the vote on the resolution was important, above all, as a show of unity.

In the News, from VOA Special English, was written by Cynthia Kirk. This is Steve Ember.