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3 UN Council Members Rule out Military Commitment to Iraq

France, Russia and Germany said Thursday that they supported the resolution on Iraq as a step in the right direction of the restoration of Iraq with the participation of the United Nations and in a spirit of unity.

But they refused to give any military commitment and further financial contributions to the reconstruction of Iraq.

Explaining the "yes" vote from Germany, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger told the 15-member council that two factors led to his approval.

"The sponsors ... have undertaken commendable efforts to reach a text that accommodates important claims we have made," he said.

"Another factor was that we and the sponsors share the same goals in Iraq," he continued, listing the same goals as " to contribute to a swift stabilization of the conditions in Iraq, to support the political and economic reconstruction process in Iraq and to promote the restoration of sovereignty of the Iraqi people through a government democratically elected by them."

In his statement explaining the vote, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov emphasized the importance of returning sovereignty to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible, and to take other measures that would encourage the stabilization of the region.

He said that the resolution unambiguously affirms the rights of the people of Iraq to control their own future and also gives the Secretary-General a greater role in such areas as the political transition, where the United Nations must be a leader.

Regarding the multinational force, he said in the final version its primary role was to provide security until the political transition took place.

"The resolution did not discuss the problem of weapons of mass destruction and other matters which would have to be dealt with, which was to say that the resulting resolution did not solve all problems," he said.

He noted that the resolution provided the preconditions for returning Iraqi sovereignty, but that it was up to council members to closely monitor the situation and act in favor of that effort.

Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France said that, with so much at stake, a more clear-cut text should have been produced.

"It was particularly important to set timetables for a political transition," he said, adding such provisions were necessary to mobilize the international community for Iraq and to take measures to stabilize the country.

France had been able to vote for the text because the authors of the resolution had taken into account a number of amendments that it had submitted, according to the ambassador.

In a joint statement issued by the three strong critics of the US-led war on Iraq, they ruled out any military commitment and denied further financial contributions to the process of Iraqi reconstruction.

"At the same time, we believe that the resolution should have gone further on two major issues: first, the role of the United Nations, in particular in the political process, and second, the pace of the transfer of responsibilities to the Iraqi people," it said.

"In that context, the conditions are not created for us to envisage any military commitment and further financial contribution beyond our present engagement," said the statement.

The Security Council on Thursday unanimously adopted the US-sponsored resolution on Iraq's future, which authorizes the deployment of a multinational force in the country.

(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2003)

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