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U.N. draft: Iraq to control security forces

U.S.-British revision gives time frame for multinational force

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United Nations

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- A revised draft of the U.S.-British proposal for a U.N. resolution on Iraq makes clear Iraqi security forces will be under control of the interim government and gives a time frame for the mandate of multinational forces.

The revised text was distributed to members of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday, the same day Iraqi officials in Baghdad announced members of an interim government.

The new interim Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, will head to New York on Wednesday and will likely meet with council members Thursday, CNN has learned. (More on Iraq's Cabinet members)

Multinational forces are scheduled to take over from coalition forces June 30.

According to the new version of the resolution, the mandate of the multinational force "shall expire upon completion of the political process," which will be when there is a new Iraqi constitution and a freely elected government. U.S. officials expect that to happen by December 2005.

The Security Council could also "terminate" the mandate earlier "if requested by the elected transitional government of Iraq," the text says.

This sharpens the language of the earlier draft resolution version, which simply said the mandate for the multinational force would be "reviewed" by the Security Council at the request of the government or 12 months from the date of the resolution.

The lack of clear language on the relationship between the new Iraqi government and the international military force was a major point of criticism from members of the Security Council when the proposed resolution was offered last month.

At issue was whether Iraqi leaders will have final say when it comes to approving military operations.

Discussion of the resolution began Tuesday, but no date has been set for a vote on the measure.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the new text "takes into account our discussions with Iraqis, with other [Security Council] members, with coalition partners, Arab states and others in the region."

The revised text deals with some of the main issues discussed in those consultations, and "makes clearer that the occupation ends on June 30 and that the Iraqi interim government will be fully sovereign," he said.

Boucher said the new language underscores that "the United States will respect decisions of the sovereign Iraqi government regarding the presence of the multinational force."

Under the revised text, the Iraqi government will have control over the country's natural resources and will assume responsibility for coordinating international assistance to Iraq.

Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about the resolution this weekend with the foreign ministers of China, Russia, Germany and Spain, as well as with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Boucher said.


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