16 March 2007
U.S. Envoy to United Nations Reports Progress in Iraq
Wolff cites security operations, laws, economic plans as promising signs
Washington – Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff highlighted numerous areas of progress in Iraq over the past three months as he presented the Multinational Force-Iraq’s (MNF-I) quarterly report to the U.N. Security Council March 15.
“Despite the sobering scale of violent attacks, the Iraqi government and people continue to pursue their political and economic development and security goals,” Wolff told council members.
Wolff said Iraqi security forces are taking the lead in a greater number of security operations, and he said Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Baghdad Security Plan is showing encouraging preliminary signs.
“Although it is too early to point to a firm trend, the initial security effort under the new plan has recently reduced violence in Baghdad,” he said.
On the political side, Wolff pointed to the creation of the Independent Higher Election Commission as a positive step toward holding provincial elections. He also hailed the proposed hydrocarbons law, which he said would ensure “national control and equitable distribution of Iraq's oil wealth.”
The ambassador noted that Iraqi Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi was scheduled to present details of the International Compact for Iraq to the United Nations March 16. This compact lays out a series of economic reforms the Iraqi government pledges to undertake in exchange for financial support from the international community. Wolff called it “a key component in Iraq's efforts to complete its transition to financial self-sufficiency and integration into the regional and global economy.”
In opening remarks to the U.N. meeting on the compact March 16, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the compact "should be seen as a tool for unlocking Iraq’s own potential," adding that it "seeks to achieve concrete results in the areas of public sector resource management, institution-building and human development, in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals."
Wolff said attacks on infrastructure have decreased, but he said administrative weaknesses have prevented the government from significantly improving the delivery of services to its citizens.
He also raised the issue of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons, who now number an estimated 3.7 million. He said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is seeking $60 million over the next two years to help these populations.
Wolff underscored the importance of U.N. operations in helping Iraq make progress. “U.N. leadership and expertise will continue to be needed as Iraq moves forward to prepare for provincial elections, conduct possible referenda, continue work on national reconciliation and the constitutional review, as well as implement the International Compact,” he said.
According to Security Council resolutions, the MNF-I is required to provide the council with quarterly reports on its progress toward fulfilling its mandate.
For more information on U.S. policies, see Iraq Update.
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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