- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2003

The Bush administration said yesterday it will decide whether to pursue another United Nations resolution on the reconstruction of Iraq after the Security Council meets today with the special U.N. envoy and visiting members of the new Iraqi Governing Council.

The session in New York comes amid mounting pressure on the administration to broaden the United Nations’ powers in Iraq, including taking on security responsibilities, if it wants nations that were not part of the war coalition to contribute to the stabilization effort.

U.S. officials said they are open to discussing ideas for a measure to complement Resolution 1483, which was adopted in late May. But first they want to hear the report of the U.N. envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, on the resolution’s implementation and to see what reception the Security Council will offer the three Iraqi representatives at today’s session.

“We are studying the recommendations. We are looking forward to the briefing tomorrow at the Security Council and hearing from Mr. de Mello,” Philip Reeker, the State Department’s deputy spokesman, told reporters. “And we certainly have, as we’ve indicated, valued the partnership with the United Nations.”

But President Bush said yesterday that other countries do not need to wait for a new resolution to send troops to Iraq.

“We believe that 1483 empowers countries to make a proper decision to get involved in Iraq,” Mr. Bush said at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Crawford, Texas. “But the more people involved in Iraq, the better off we will be.”

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said during the weekend that he has had discussions with foreign leaders and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan “to examine whether or not another resolution might be useful.”

“We haven’t made a decision yet,” Mr. Powell told Radio Monte Carlo. “But we have an open mind on this issue, and that’s why we are consulting with our friends and with the secretary-general.”

A printed version of Mr. de Mello’s report, which will be discussed today but was sent to the council by Mr. Annan in advance, said the Governing Council “will provide a broadly representative Iraqi partner with whom the United Nations and the international community at large can engage.”

The report noted, however, that the Iraqi people need to “see a clear timetable leading to the full restoration of sovereignty.” It added: “There is a pressing need to set out a clear and specific sequence of events leading to the end of military occupation.”

Another U.S. soldier in Iraq was killed yesterday by what officials said was a roadside bomb detonated by remote control.

The attack also wounded three members of the 1st Armored Division squad and wrecked two Humvees. A military spokesman credited an Iraqi vendor with saving the life of one of the injured soldiers.

“One man who worked at a nearby stand helped the soldiers out of the vehicles. That probably saved one soldier’s life,” Lt. Col. John Kem said.

As part of an effort to lower the U.S. profile, the military announced plans to establish an Iraqi militia to help patrol the country.

American troops also raided the home of a wealthy auto dealer yesterday after a man saying he was Saddam Hussein’s mechanic said the ousted dictator was hiding there.

Dozens of soldiers stormed the extensive compound, near Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, but the U.S. force found no sign of Saddam.

The Iraqi delegation to New York will be led by former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi. Mr. Reeker said Mr. Pachachi and his colleagues have no scheduled meetings in Washington.

U.S. officials said L. Paul Bremer — the top civilian administrator in Iraq, who is in Washington this week — will not attend the Security Council session.

Yesterday, France became the first council member to call for a resolution giving the United Nations overall security responsibility in Iraq.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels that only a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping force could guarantee security in a legitimate and efficient manner.

“The important thing for us is to spell out the United Nations’ overall, central responsibility in the Iraqi reconstruction process. To affirm the U.N.’s central role, Resolution 1483 … will no doubt be insufficient. That would require a more ambitious resolution,” he said.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who was chairman of the EU meeting, said several other ministers had suggested that closer European involvement in Iraqi reconstruction might require a new U.N. resolution, although a formal decision was not made.

The ministers, however, endorsed the European Commission’s proposals for a trust fund under the aegis of the United Nations and World Bank for international donations to Iraqi reconstruction, separate from the fund set up by the occupation authority to fund the Iraqi budget.

They also welcomed the Iraqi Governing Council as an “important first step toward the formation of an internationally recognized representative government established by the people of Iraq.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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