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Dutch back draft UN resolution on Iraq

25 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has backed the draft UN Security Council resolution on Iraq drawn up by the US and the UK.
Bot said all the important points have been included in the document and the Netherlands will be satisfied if the draft resolution becomes the final text. He also said it was a good base for continued discussions.

The Liberal VVD is also extremely pleased by the draft resolution and MP Geert Wilders called on MPs from the VVD’s governing coalition partner Democrat D66 to back the extension of the Dutch peacekeeping mission in Iraq.

The Netherlands has about 1,300 Dutch troops stationed in the south of Iraq and after giving “political, but not military” support to the war against Iraq, the Cabinet must soon decide whether to keep the troops in the Islamic nation until at least the end of this year.

The Parliament must also back the Cabinet’s decision should it decide to extend the peacekeeping mission, but the majority of MPs made up of the VVD, Christian Democrat CDA and populist LPF have indicated they are willing to extend the mission.

But neither the D66 nor main opposition party Labour PvdA — both of which have raised serious doubts about extending the mission — were convinced by the draft resolution and reacted cautiously, news agency ANP reported.

The PvdA is opposed to extending the peacekeeping mission beyond the 30 June transfer of power to the Iraqis. And MP Bert Koenders questioned the resolution, demanding to know what a “leading role” for the UN exactly meant.

Koenders has previously said that only a radical change of course from the US and a central role for the UN in Iraq will help change his party’s stance.

The D66 was slightly more positive over the draft resolution, but wanted to examine the document more carefully. The governing CDA backed the draft and called on the Cabinet to push for a definite resolution.

The US-UK draft resolution was presented to the United Nations Security Council on Monday. It proposes that a multinational peacekeeping force remain in Iraq for a year after the 30 June transfer of power.

But France, Germany, China and Russia have demanded improvements. “It is a draft, a draft which must be discussed and must be improved,” French Foreign Affairs Minister Michel Barnier said on Tuesday.

American and British officials hope the resolution will be passed in early June, but demands have been lodged for a better definition of the sovereignty that’s being handed over to the Iraqis.

The draft is not clear on whether the interim government will have control over security, BBC reported. Another problem could be the lack of a deadline for the US-led forces to leave the country.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + Iraq