Blair and Chirac discuss UN resolution on Iraq

1st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday told French President Jacques Chirac that a revised version of a UN Security Council resolution on Iraq would be "available soon", Chirac's office said.

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday told French President Jacques Chirac that a revised version of a UN Security Council resolution on Iraq would be "available soon", Chirac's office said.

The two leaders discussed the UN resolution on Iraq at length during a telephone conversation, initiated by Blair, according to Chirac's spokeswoman Catherine Colonna.

She called the draft "a good working document, but one which must be improved", adding that the two had also discussed "expected amendments" and "the need for a real transfer of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government after June 30."

The British prime minister told Chirac "a revised draft of the resolution should be available soon," Colonna added.

The Security Council is due to debate the draft this week. Both Britain and France - along with China, Russia and the United States - are permanent members of the Council with veto power.

Blair and Chirac are due to see each other at the weekend in Normandy during ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in northwest France.

During a visit to Guatemala last week, Chirac called the US-British draft resolution on Iraq a "solid starting point", but said it needed to be "greatly improved" and that a date must be set for the US troops to leave the country.

The current draft gives the US-led multinational force in Iraq a one-year mandate that can be renewed, and says only that the interim Iraqi government can ask to review its status.

The French president said the interim Iraqi government "must have a decision-making capacity on the commitment of its own forces and on major operations of the international force there."

After a phone conversation with US President George W. Bush last week, Chirac underscored his wish for the future Iraqi government to exercise full sovereignty on security issues and on its oil assets starting at the June 30 handover of power.

On Tuesday, French foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous reiterated that the new Iraqi government should be represented in the ongoing talks at the United Nations Security Council on a resolution.

"The new sovereign executive in Baghdad must be seriously consulted and associated with talks on the contents of the document for this resolution to be credible and workable," Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Monday in Morocco.

Iraq's new 36-member interim government was sworn in on Tuesday in Baghdad.

Interim foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP he would head to New York on Tuesday to take part in talks on the resolution "to give an Iraqi input and represent us in the discussions."

"We definitely support full sovereignty for Iraq. This will be the main target of our discussion. We want the transfer of sovereignty to be full and to be genuine and for the Iraqi people to feel it is a real change," Zebari said.

© AFP

Subject: French news
 

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