France calls for Iraqi executiveto join UN resolution talks

1st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

RABAT, May 31 (AFP) - A sovereign Iraqi government must be represented in ongoing talks on a UN draft resolution on the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq for the draft to be credible, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said here Monday.

RABAT, May 31 (AFP) - A sovereign Iraqi government must be represented in ongoing talks on a UN draft resolution on the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq for the draft to be credible, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said here Monday.

"As far as the resolution is concerned, we must not rush things," Barnier told a news conference.

"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," he said.

Barnier, who was on a two-day visit to Morocco, had discussed the "political calendar" for Iraq in a closed-door meeting with King Mohammed VI in Agadir earlier Monday.

The two men "largely agreed" on all the issues they discussed, said a member of the French foreign minister's entourage.

He was in Rabat later in the day for talks with Prime Minister Driss Jettou before returning to Paris in the evening.

China, France, Germany and Russia are pushing for changes to the text of the UN resolution to strengthen the commitment of full sovereignty for Iraqis once the US occupation has formally ended on June 30.

But the US State Department has already made it clear that Washington would not accept calls to fix a departure date for US troops, who will remain in Iraq after the handover of power.

Barnier acknowledged the nomination of Iyad Allawi as Iraq's prime minister but said that the country "must be fully sovereign" on June 30.

It was also "essential that the Iraqi people can recognise themselves in their future leaders."

Turning to the Middle East, Barnier warned that "peace cannot only be made between Israelis and Americans - the Palestinians must also be included". They should be listened to and respected, he added.

King Mohammed and Barnier also discussed the issue of the mineral-rich Western Sahara, the territory in southern Morocco which Rabat annexed in 1976 after it was granted independence from Spain.

War erupted the same year between Morocco and the Western Sahara's Polisario Front rebel movement, which is backed by Algiers in its fight for independence.

UN peacekeepers have been on the ground since a ceasefire took effect in 1991.

Barnier said Saturday before beginning his visit to Morocco that a rapprochement between Rabat and Algiers was necessary, if a solution was to be found to the Western Sahara problem.

He said after Sunday's talks that "nothing will be imposed on either party to the conflict.

"We need a dialogue between Morocco and Algeria, two countries which are friends of France," he said, adding however that they did not need either a tutor or a mediator.

He also called on north African Maghreb countries to integrate because "the reasons to live together are more important than divisions".

© AFP

Subject: French news

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