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U.N. Draft Resolution on Iraq Draws Mixed Reaction

The draft resolution, endorsing the creation of an interim government in Iraq by the end of June, also proposes a U.S.-led multinational force, which would be allowed to take “all necessary measures to contribute to the maintenance of security and stability.”

The proposed resolution does not specify when the multinational force would leave Iraq, and suggests the Security Council review the situation after one year. A new Iraqi government would have the authority to request an earlier review.

Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, head of the Iraqi Governing Council, said Tuesday that the draft was “less than our expectations,” saying he hoped the Iraqi council would be able to contribute to the final version of the proposal.

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said the U.N. draft should be altered to ensure that the Iraqi people will achieve true sovereignty.

“It is a proposal which must be discussed and improved on a certain number of points touching principally the sincerity, the reality and the credibility of the process of sovereignty transfer,” Barnier said after meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

French President Jacques Chirac spoke via telephone with President Bush Tuesday, releasing a statement afterward that said the resolution offered a “good basis for discussion,” but needed additional work.

“The extent of the responsibilities of the future interim Iraqi government, especially over its oil resources, must be studied closely,” the statement quoted Chirac, who last year strongly objected to the war, as saying.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Tuesday that the American-British resolution provided a “very good basis on which we can seek and reach a consensus.”

Fischer said details would be worked out after U.N. envoy for Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi named the leaders of an interim Iraqi government, which is expected as early as the end of this week.

“It is essential for us that we go forward with implementing the resolution in the Security Council,” Fischer said.

Russia, which also opposed the war and holds veto power on the Security Council, said it wants more details about who would run Iraq’s interim government before agreeing to the resolution.

“The document leaves Russia and other members of the Security Council asking many questions and needs further work,” a Russian Foreign Ministry source told Interfax news agency.

According to the Associated Press, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said China will participate in the United Nations’ consideration of the resolution “with a positive and constructive attitude.”

Liu said it was “too premature” to discuss China’s stance on sending troops to aid the U.S.-led multinational force.

Australia and Japan reacted positively to the American-British draft resolution, with Australian Prime Minister John Howard saying he intends to keep his country’s troops in Iraq despite the fact that polls show eroding national support for the continued deployment of around 850 military personnel.

Japan also welcomed the resolution.

“We hope a new resolution will be adopted to guarantee the reconstruction of Iraq by Iraqis,” Hiroyuki Hosoda, the country’s deputy cabinet secretary, said. “We would like to work closely with other countries.”

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