France 'constructive' over UN resolution on Iraq

14th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (AFP) - France is willing to work "in a constructive spirit" for the next United Nations resolution on Iraq, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said late Thursday.

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (AFP) - France is willing to work "in a constructive spirit" for the next United Nations resolution on Iraq, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said late Thursday.

"Our mindset in the current time of crisis is to find good ideas and be useful. We want to make it clear that we can be useful and, perhaps, better understood," Barnier said after hosting a dinner for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the residence of France's UN representative.

"We're ready to work in a constructive spirit," he told a news conference.Asked what France thought about a new UN resolution on Iraq the United States is seeking before the transfer of power in Iraq on June 30, Barnier said: "the occupation forces must accept that a real break take place" in the power structure.

"Only the Iraqi government must manage the affairs of Iraq," he said, stressing repeatedly that Baghdad "must have authority over the Iraqi forces" and "have a say" on how the multinational forces in its territory are to be used.

He acknowledged that the relations between the US-led coalition forces and the future government of Iraq "will undoubtedly be the most sensitive issue debated in the (UN) resolution."

In addition to confirming the transfer of power in Iraq by the set deadline, the United States would like the new UN Security Council resolution to address the need for greater cooperation from the international community in the military and economic stabilization of Iraq.

Neither the United States nor Britain, its chief ally in Iraq, have presented a draft of the resolution, but council members have begun an informal exchange of ideas on the subject.

Bernier told reporters his "point of view" on the draft resolution was that it should be a starting point "in defining (Iraqi) sovereignty and establishing short term perspectives up to January."

In principle, the Iraqi administration empowered at the end of June should handle current affairs until a transitional government can be elected in January 2005. A new constitution should then be drawn up before a properly elected, representative government can take over a year later.

"It will be that government who must decide whether the international forces should stay or go" in Iraq, the French foreign minister said.As to France's plans, Barnier said: "there will be no French troops in Iraq either now or later."

Barnier was on his first official visit to the United States since he replaced Dominique de Villepin, who spearheaded at the United Nations France's opposition to the US-led war on Iraq last year.

He arrived here Thursday afternoon and is expected to attend Friday morning in Washington a meeting of ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, before traveling on to Haiti.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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