UN recognizes end of mandate of multinational force in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2008-12-23 05:04:45   Print

Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq     

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council unanimously voted on Monday to recognize the expiration of the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq (MNF-I) by the end of the year.

    The 15-member body adopted a U.S.-British resolution "recognizing the expiration of the mandate of the multinational force at the end of December 31 2008," as requested by the Iraqi government.

    "This termination marks a turning point for Iraq and the end of an important era for the UN and, above all, the contributing countries to the MNF-I," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the council.

    Zebari said that Iraq and the United States have negotiated "new security arrangements to direct the future bilateral partnership" between the two countries, including an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and a strategic framework agreement for U.S.-Iraq friendship and cooperation, which have been approved by the Iraqi government and parliament.

    Past Security Council resolutions which authorized and extended the MNF mandate, have been based on the "premise that the MNF-I's continued presence would be until such time that Iraq can assume full responsibility and self-sufficiency in maintaining security for the country and the people of Iraq," he said.

    "Now, according to the agreement with the United States, 2011 would be a realistic date for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from our country," Zebari said.

    "Therefore, noting the significant progress achieved, and the conclusion of the security accord with the United States, Prime Minister (Nouri) Maliki's letter, dated December 7 2007, was the final request to extend the MNF-I mandate, which will thus expire at the end of this year," said the foreign minister.

    Zebari thanked the multinational force for contributing "vital support to the progress in building security and stability in Iraq, and towards our transition to a sovereign, federal and united democracy," as well as all the MNF's contributing countries.

    The UN Security Council adopted resolution 1546 on June 8 2004 to authorize the multinational force to stay in Iraq and has successively extended its mandate at the request of the Iraqi government.

Editor: Sun
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