UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- The United Nations has endorsed the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority occupying Iraq even though the Security Council never approved the April invasion in the first place.
By the Security Council unanimously approving Resolution 1511 it also "authorizes a multinational force under a unified command," meaning the United States, to contribute to security and stability in Iraq.
However, the troop-seeking, U.S.-sponsored measure calls for the CPA to devolve control to the Iraqi people "as soon as practicable."
Even so, that is not good enough for some of the nations who voted for it, namely France, Germany, Pakistan, Russia and Syria, who said they would not provide any more aid or even troops, despite the fact the measure they OK'd "urges" nations to help out.
When asked if Syria would supply troops, Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad, replied. "Absolutely not." That was no surprise. The real surprise was that Damascus diverted from its norm of abstaining on Iraq resolutions. Supporting this measure, sponsored by the Britain, Cameroon, Spain and the United States, was taken by some as a bid to get back in Washington's good graces, a mighty task considering the times.
Pakistan's Ambassador Munir Akram, seeming to look for an invitation, said his nation thinks Iraq should request any foreign troops.
The European trio was particularly upset that a specific program for a constitution and elections under it, had not been set out since they were unable to quickly wrangle complete control out of the grasp of the CPA and into the hands of the Iraqi people.
Still, the engineer of this U.S. victory, Ambassador John Negroponte, said, after the meeting was over, "It is an important accomplishment. We worked long and hard to achieve this result starting more than six weeks ago. We were glad to see the council coalescing around the United States draft, which had formed the basis of this negotiation throughout. So we think it's important in terms of council unity, and it's particularly important with respect to the future of Iraq itself."
The resolution called for the U.S.-established Governing Council of Iraq to provide "no later the Dec. 15" a "timetable and program for the drafting of a new constitution for Iraq and for the holding of democratic elections under that constitution" so "the Iraqi people will progressively take control of their own affairs."
The Governing Council and its ministers are regarded "as the principle bodies of the Iraqi interim administration." The council now "embodies the sovereignty of the state of Iraq" during a transitional period "until an internationally recognized representative government is established and assumes the responsibilities" of the CPA.
"We're waiting for this timetable to be put forward on the 15th of December," Negroponte said. "Of course there's the upcoming Donors Conference in Madrid next week and we would hope that this 15-0 vote would give impetus to that."
Asked when he realized he had a major victory on his hands, Washington's envopy said, "Clearly some of the amendments that we discussed yesterday (Wednesday), with the Russian, and German and French co-sponsors of the amendments that had been put forward earlier in the week, I think was the turning point. And clearly towards the end of the day yesterday, it was clear that we were going to move towards a strong vote by the council, not just one of these bare majorities."
A reporter pointed out Japan offered help to the U.S. cause without the resolution while with it -- despite the measure's urgings -- France, Germany and Russia said they won't give any more, if any at all, help, with this resolution.
Negroponte replied that he thought the resolution provides a framework for other countries to make contributions if they choose.
"There are not only council members but others who have said they were waiting to see what kind of Security Council resolution was passed and by what kind of majority, before they addressed the issue of troops or money, or any other forms of support that they might wish to contribute to the stabilization of the political development of Iraq," he said.
The measure said Iraq's administration "will be progressively undertaken by the evolving structures of the Iraqi interim administration" and calls on the CPA to "return governing responsibilities and authorities to the people of Iraq as soon as practicable" with progress reports sent to the U.N. Security Council.