Saturday, August 12, 2006


Iraqi Government Seeks Extended United Nations Presence,
Says World Body Vital to Transition from ‘Tyranny to Democracy’

Welcoming a request from the new Iraqi Government that the United Nations continue helping the war-torn country build peace and security and restore its shattered physical and economic infrastructure, the Security Council today extended for 12 months the world body’s Mission in Iraq.Adopting resolution 1700 (2006), the Council again unanimously extended the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) through 10 August 2007, reaffirming the United Nations lead role in assisting the Iraqi people and Government in strengthening institutions and promoting national dialogue and unity.In a 3 August letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan (document S/2006/609), Iraq’s Foreign Minister had requested the further extension, saying that his Government was mindful of UNAMI’s historic role in Iraq’s transition from “tyranny to democracy”. He believed that the Mission had an ongoing vital role to play in helping “build a productive and prosperous Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours”.The Secretary-General had earlier requested the extension (document S/2006/601), warning the Council that Iraq “continued to face formidable political, security and economic challenges” and still needed the support of the international community. Insurgent, militia and terrorist attacks had continued unabated in many parts of Iraq, with sectarian violence posing an increasing threat to its people, he added.The Council’s action allows the Mission, whose mandate was set to expire tomorrow, to continue helping Iraq in key areas identified by the Secretary-General, such as drafting a constitution, setting up an elected Government and providing social services and humanitarian assistance. UNAMI was also helping to rebuild the country, reform its legal and judicial systems, promote human rights and organize a census.Also according to the resolution, the Iraqi Government could ask the Council to review the Mission’s mandate at any time before it expiration in August 2007.