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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

25 May 2005

Iraq Asks United Nations To Keep Multinational Force in Country

Iraq's envoy to U.N. cites continuing armed insurgency as reason

By Judy Aita
Washington File Staff Writer

United Nations -- Citing continued armed insurgency, Iraq has asked the U.N. Security Council to allow the 160,000-strong, U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) to remain in the country until after elections for a permanent government.

"As we now stand our country continues to face an armed insurgency, which still includes foreign elements opposed to Iraq's transition to democratic rule.  Despite continuing efforts to build up our security forces, these forces cannot as yet assume full responsibility for maintaining our national security and defending our borders," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari wrote in a letter to the president of the Security Council.

"Iraq looks forward to the day when its forces are able to assume full responsibility for maintaining its national security, at which time there will be no need for the engagement of the MNF.  Until then, we need the continued presence of the MNF in Iraq," the foreign minister said.

In June 2004, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1546, which set out the role of the United Nations in Iraq and outlined the relationship between the new Iraqi government and the MNF. The MNF mandate was to be reviewed at the request of Iraq or after 12 months.  Its mandate will expire at the end of December 2005 with the democratic election of a new government or earlier if requested by Iraq, according to the resolution.

Security Council review of the request is expected during the first week of June.

"To complete the transitional process endorsed in Resolution 1546 and build on political achievements to date, we need the MNF to continue providing its essential contributions to our security," Zebari said.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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