Fri, 11 Jun 2004

New UN move in Iraq

The Daily Yomiuri, Asia News Network, Tokyo

A newly adopted UN resolution on Iraqi sovereignty has set the stage for the international community to join hands in stabilizing the war-ravaged nation.

There are many hurdles to clear in pursuit of this aim. To make tangible progress in this undertaking, international cooperation must be combined with Iraq's own efforts to achieve the target.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1546, which lays out the specific rules under which the interim government of Iraq will operate after power is handed over to them. We welcome the new resolution as a pledge by nations around the world to step up their cooperation in stabilizing Iraq.

The Security Council resolution endorses the transfer of sovereignty to a caretaker Iraqi government by June 30, marking an end to the U.S.-led occupation of that country. The Coalition Provisional Authority will be dissolved, a move that will also transfer control over the use of financial resources generated by a fund supervised by the CPA for the rebuilding of Iraq. This will enable the new Iraqi government to use its discretion in determining how the nation's oil revenues will be used.

The Security Council agreed that the multinational force would pull out of Iraq when the "political process" in the country ends. This means the multinational force will withdraw from Iraq in December 2005, after a democratic government has been established there. The council also reached a compromise requiring the resolution to state that the multinational force and the Iraqi government would hold close consultations about military operations in the country.

An important task to be tackled by the Iraqi interim government is to conduct a national election in January 2005 to stabilize postwar Iraq.

Under the circumstances, the U.S.-led multinational force must play a central role in maintaining peace and order in Iraq. The United States should establish good relations with the Iraqi government and gain the support of the Iraqi people.

The latest resolution urges UN members to make contributions to the multinational force's activities under agreements with the Iraqi government, including the dispatch of military personnel.

For months, Japan has played a role in aiding Iraq's reconstruction by sending Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops to the country. The new resolution will give Japan ample reason to continue the SDF's activities in Iraq. The SDF should stay in that nation.

The global efforts to aid Iraq's reconstruction will serve to stabilize not only Iraq, but the Middle East as a whole. It will be Japan's interest -- relying as it does on the Middle East for about 90 percent of crude oil imports -- to continue aiding Iraq. This nation should continue to play an active role in the reconstruction of Iraq.