dum-dums who thought kofi supports bush

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    Annan rejects US plan for Iraqi transition

    Julian Borger in Washington
    Friday October 3, 2003
    The Guardian

    The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, yesterday issued a stinging rebuke to Washington's attempts to win financial and military backing for the US-led occupation of Iraq.

    Mr Annan took the unusual step of openly rejecting a US-sponsored draft for a resolution calling for international support for the transition to Iraqi self-rule, saying the Bush administration had failed to heed his recommendations.

    France, Russia and Germany also signalled that they were not prepared to support the resolution, in a sharp setback for US postwar diplomatic efforts to share the burden of running Iraq.

    The rejection reflected a sharp rift in the security council over how Iraq should be managed in the transition to self-rule, and how long that transition should be.

    A revised draft of the US resolution stipulated a graduated transfer of authority to an Iraqi interim administration but set no timetable for the handover of sovereignty. It also left the US-led coalition provisional authority in control of the country in the run-up to elections at an unspecified date.

    Mr Annan had argued that the resolution should establish an interim Iraqi government before preparing for elections.

    France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, told yesterday's security council meeting that the resolution did not meet France's principal requirement that the UN should be given a central role and that Iraqis be rapidly given control of their own country.

    His German counterpart, Gunter Pleuger, said it was "somewhat difficult" to find evidence in the new US draft of any adjustments to allow for France and Germany's proposals for a rapid transition, and he asked the US ambassador John Negroponte where those amendments were.

    Russia's envoy, Sergey Lavrov, said his government was still studying the draft but Moscow's position was very clear.

    "We believe that at this stage we should give the United Nations the leading role in the political process, to work with all Iraqis, to develop a timetable which would be clear, which would be leading to the full restoration of sovereignty, and that this process would be supported by a multinational force," he said. "Against this position we would be looking at the American draft."

    The rejection partly reflected the failure of the US and British governments so far to prove the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction at the time of the March invasion that was the core of their justification for going to war.

    Mr Annan told reporters that handing power over more quickly "may change the dynamics on the ground in terms of the security situation".

    "That doesn't mean that the international community walks away," he said.

    "You stay and work with them, through the transition, with reconstruction and with security arrangements - the kind of thing we are doing in Afghanistan.

    "But you get rid of the idea that it is an occupation," he said.

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