On Wednesday China, Russia, France and Germany submitted co-ordinated amendments and additions to the US-British draft resolution of the UN Security Council on Iraq.
The provisional government of Iraq, to which the coalition administration is to hand over power in the country on June 30, must have full sovereignty in the issues of politics, economy, security, jurisprudence and diplomacy, says the memorandum presented by the Chinese delegation at the closed consultations on behalf of the four countries.
They suggest setting the expiry date for the mandate of the multinational forces in Iraq for late January 2005 and obliging the forces to consult the provisional government concerning military operations, with the exception of self-defence actions.
The three-page memorandum reflects the opinion of the bulk of Security Council members, Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Munir Akram said in the corridors of the UN headquarters. According to him, the document suggests that the resolution should not be set for voting until the creation of the provisional government and its recognition by the people of Iraq and neighbouring countries.
Before approving the creation of the provisional government, we should know that it enjoys broad [public] support, said the Algerian representative Abdallah Baali.
"Our positions coincide," said acting representative of Russia Alexander Konuzin. "If the Iraqi people recognise the [provisional] government, the work on the resolution will be rapidly finished." He said it was vital that the provisional cabinet should be recognised by neighbouring countries and reminded us about the Russian initiative on holding an international conference on the restoration of Iraq in New York, which should be attended by members of the new Baghdad authorities and delegates from the governments of Jordan, Iran, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed the hope before the Security Council session that the provisional government of Iraq would be formed by late May. In his words, his special adviser Lakhdar Brakhimi will present relevant recommendations in the next few days.
We are moving closer to the date, Mr Annan said in a short conversation with journalists, and I hope that we will fulfil our task. He described the text of the US-British draft as satisfactory, saying that it outlined the priority spheres of UN work in Iraq (the organisation is already working in some of them).
Two groups of UN experts are working in Iraq. One of them, led by Brakhimi, is helping the Iraqis to reach consensus on the creation of the provisional government. The other, led by director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division Carina Pirelli, is preparing the country for the general elections planned for late January 2005.