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US, Britain propose boosting UN role in Iraq

The United States and Britain Thursday presented a draft resolution in the UN Security Council to enhance and expanded the role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

A copy of the draft resolution obtained by AFP calls for UNAMI's mandate, launched in August 2003, to be extended another year beyond its August 10 expiration date.

The US-British proposal also calls on the UN's representative in Iraq and UNAMI, "as circumstances permit," to "advise, support and assist" the Iraqi government on a range of issues including politics, elections, constitution, justice, economy, human rights and the return of refugees to their homes.

The proposal underscores the "important role" the US-led multinational force has in backing UNAMI, recognizing that "security is essential for UNAMI to carry out its work on behalf of the people of Iraq."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, during his July 17 meeting in Washington with President George W. Bush, announced that the United Nations was ready to help the Iraqi government and people.

A few days later, on July 20, US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad wrote in The New York Times that Washington "endorses Mr. Ban's call for an expanded United Nations role in Iraq to help Iraq become ... a force for moderation in the region."

Khalilzad, who served as US ambassador to Iraq from 2005 to last April, also noted that the world body was soon to appoint a new special UN envoy for Iraq to replace Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

Khalilzad said the new UN envoy should have a mandate to help Iraqis complete work on a range of issues, including legislation on the equitable distribution of oil revenues among Iraq's communities, and reform of the controversial de-Baathification law.

The UN leadership has been very concerned with the security situation in Iraq after a truck bomb blew up outside its headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003, killing 22 UN staff, including UN special representative, Brazilian Sergio Vieira de Mello.

US, Britain propose boosting UN role in Iraq -  Source

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