- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2003

NEW YORK — Delegates from Iraq’s new Governing Council told the U.N. Security Council yesterday that despite continuing insecurity and economic turmoil the Iraqi people were determined never again to accept a tyrant’s rule.

“They have tasted freedom and would never return to the era of fear and injustice,” said Adnan Pachachi, a former Iraqi foreign minister who serves on the U.S.-appointed 25-member Governing Council. “The state intelligence services and mandatory arrests and random executions are done for once and for all.”

The three delegates, dispatched to New York in one of the council’s first acts last week, also laid claim to the four-story town house that lodges Iraq’s U.N. Mission, which still is occupied by a half-dozen appointees of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

Governing Council member Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, said he had discussed the mission’s political and structural rehabilitation with the current charge d’affaires.

But the delegates said they felt no need for formal recognition from the Security Council as the official representatives of Iraq.

Participation in the U.N. council meeting yesterday was, by itself, “considered by the people of Iraq to be a recognition of the country’s sovereignty,” said Mr. Pachachi, who was accompanied by Mr. Chalabi and Aqila al-Hashemi, a diplomat who had served under the former regime and who is one of three women on the Iraqi council.

The delegates were welcomed by all members of the Security Council, except Syria and two protesters who shouted catcalls, helping to set the tone for the involvement of more countries in peacekeeping operations in Iraq.

The State Department said Monday that it would wait to see how the delegation was received at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York before deciding whether to seek a new Security Council resolution that would make it easier for France, Germany, India and other countries to contribute troops to stabilization efforts in Iraq.

The United States maintains that Resolution 1483, passed on May 22, provides adequate authority for countries wishing to send troops to help in Iraq, but acknowledges that several countries have asked for another resolution with a more explicit mandate.

“Once you start putting such a resolution down, there will be others that come along and say, ‘Aha, but if you’re going to ask for another resolution for a broader mandate, then the U.N. has more of a role to play than it does now,’” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged yesterday in an interview with reporters and editors of The Washington Times in his State Department office.

“Let a debate begin on this subject,” he said. “And I’m willing to participate in that debate if it achieves the purpose of getting more people involved.

“I would listen to the arguments, but I can’t [say how much authority we would cede to the United Nations] because I don’t know what the traffic would demand or the traffic will bear.”

The members of the Governing Council were appointed this month by the U.S.-dominated occupation authority in Baghdad, which also holds a veto over the group’s recommendations and decisions.

Many Iraqis have been dismissive of the body, saying its members are at best impotent and at worst collaborators with the authority.

Members of the Security Council yesterday pledged to support the Iraqi council, but France, Russia and several others insisted again that full sovereignty must be returned to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible.

“Our collective goal remains an early end to the military occupation through the formation of an internationally recognized, representative government,” said U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

“It is vital that the Iraqi people should be able to see a clear timetable with a specific sequence of events leading to the full restoration of sovereignty as soon as possible.”

Mr. Pachachi assured the world body that the Governing Council’s “primary goal is to shorten the duration of the interim administration, to pave the way for a new constitution and a popularly elected government in Iraq.”

Nearly every speaker yesterday lamented the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, which has been rocked by months of looting, sabotage, carjackings and an unprecedented wave of robberies and assaults.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, Mr. Annan’s special representative in Iraq, appealed during a presentation to the Security Council yesterday for more nations to support the reconstitution of the Iraqi army and police forces.

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