Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, says the British and U.S.-led Coalition
will not relinquish decision-making responsibility in Iraq, despite efforts to
broaden the United Nations role in Iraq's reconstruction.
|Jack Straw, left,
and Kofi Annan
Mr. Straw was in New York for talks on Iraq with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan. After meeting with Mr. Annan, the British foreign secretary then met
with reporters and underscored the need for a broader international role in
Iraq's economy and politics. However, Mr. Straw also stressed that the Coalition
Authority will not, as he said, "surrender" control in those areas.
"It is not an issue of surrender," he said. "It is a question of strengthening
the work of the Coalition Provisional Authority, strengthening the work of
the Governing Council and, at the same time, improving and broadening the authority
of the United Nations."
Since Tuesday's deadly terrorist attack at the U.N. Baghdad headquarters,
Britain and the United States have pressed for greater United Nations involvement
After a meeting with Mr. Annan on Thursday at the United Nations, U.S. Secretary
of State Colin Powell announced that the United States is working on a possible
new resolution to encourage other nations to contribute troops.
But critics of the Iraq war, including Security Council members France and
Russia, believe the international community should have a greater role in Iraq
than the Coalition Authority is willing to give.
During an open council meeting on the issue Thursday, France's Deputy Ambassador
Michel Duclos said that Washington must share responsibility, information and
authority in Iraq if it wants economic and political reconstruction to succeed.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mr. Straw, secretary-general
Annan also expressed doubts that the council will reach a consensus on a possible
new resolution in Iraq without changes in the decision-making process in that
Mr. Annan again ruled out the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to Iraq. But
he did tell reporters that the Security Council may authorize sending a multinational
force to Iraq, under certain conditions.
"It is not excluded that the council may decide to transform the operation
to a U.N. mandated multinational force operating on the ground with other governments
coming in," said Mr. Annan. "It would also imply not just burden sharing but
also sharing decisions and responsibility with the others. If that does not
happen, I think it will be very difficult to get a second resolution that will
The secretary-general also met Friday with Spain's foreign minister, Ana
Palacio, who offered condolences for Tuesday's blast at the U.N. offices in
Baghdad that killed more than 20 people, including the top U.N. official there,
Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Mr. Annan has sent a security team to Baghdad to investigate the bombing,
as the United Nations reassesses security at its offices worldwide.