U.S., Britain seek to run Iraq for at least a year
New resolution would lift most U.N. sanctions against country
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.S.-supported resolution that would lift almost all U.N. sanctions on Iraq also calls for the United States and Britain to run the country for at least a year, according to a copy of the draft resolution that CNN obtained.
Under the draft resolution, which the United States, Britain and Spain co-sponsored, all sanctions would be lifted except for the ban on arms sales to Iraq.
The resolution would classify the United States and Britain as "occupying powers," giving them certain authority and responsibilities under international law such as providing security and ensuring that Iraqis are treated humanely.
The U.N. Security Council met Friday for its first official look at the resolution. While the closed-door debate could be heated, it is not expected to be as contentious as the disputes that led up to the war in Iraq.
Under the plan, the United States and Britain would be in charge of the administration of the country and work to restore security and stability "and the creation of conditions in which the Iraqi people may freely determine their own political future."
The resolution would give the United States and Britain that authority for a year. This authority would automatically continue beyond 12 months unless the Security Council decides otherwise.
The plan calls for the United Nations to play a "vital role" in providing humanitarian relief, supporting reconstruction and helping the formation of an Iraqi interim authority.
The resolution would call for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a special coordinator to work with the United States on humanitarian and reconstruction efforts.
The coordinator would work with the United States and Britain to create an Iraqi interim administration to run the country until a permanent government is established.
All proceeds from Iraqi oil sales would be deposited into an Iraqi Assistance Fund to pay for humanitarian and reconstruction needs "until such time as a new Iraqi government is properly constituted and capable of discharging its responsibilities," the resolution says.
The United States and Britain would control the fund, consulting with the Iraqi interim authority. An independent advisory panel, with representatives from the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, would be appointed to monitor the fund. Independent public accountants appointed by the advisory panel would audit the fund.
The resolution also would phase out the oil-for-food program after four months, and any unused funds from that program would be shifted into the assistance fund. It also would require U.N. member nations to freeze the funds of Saddam Hussein and other former top officials and turn that money over to the fund.
Sanctions were first imposed on Iraq in August 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait. They were modified in 1996 to allow for the oil-for-food program -- an attempt to ease the effect of sanctions on Iraqi civilians -- but they have otherwise remained largely unchanged.
The nations that have expressed concerns about the draft resolution include the same veto-wielding permanent council members who publicly opposed the war.
Russia and France have outstanding oil contracts with the former Saddam regime, reached under the oil-for-food program. The fate of those contracts -- which in Russia's case values about $1.5 billion -- remains unclear.
France, Russia and China also have called for U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq to ensure disarmament. The resolution makes no mention of U.N. inspectors, and John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Thursday that the coalition envisions no role for such inspectors "for the foreseeable future."
Sergey Lavrov, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said Friday that his country has "a long list" of questions about the draft.
A Western diplomat told CNN that Russia has taken "the most extreme position" and that council members want to be constructive in the negotiations.
Inocencio Arias, Spain's U.N. ambassador, said, "It shouldn't take long to approve this resolution.
"The text can be improved," he said, "but all together it's a good way to try to find a solution to a situation which is rather complicated. "
The current Security Council president, Munir Akram of Pakistan, called the eight-page document "fairly comprehensive" and said "obviously it will need to be studied."
• The United Arab Emirates announced plans to build a new hospital in Ar Rutbah after the western Iraqi town's only medical facility was destroyed during the war, according to Gulf News, an English-language newspaper in Dubai. The Red Crescent already has been offering medical services in an old building in Ar Rutbah. Construction on the hospital is scheduled to begin in less than a month.
• In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the World Health Organization has confirmed four cases of cholera. WHO said dozens more people may have the potentially fatal illness. (More about cholera) Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine. In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration and shock, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness can be prevented and treated easily, but WHO spokesman Ian Simpson said Thursday that the conditions in Basra make it difficult to do either. The disease has a fatality rate of more than 50 percent if it is not treated, he said.
• One U.S. soldier was killed and another injured in two separate shootings Thursday in Baghdad, according to U.S. Central Command. A soldier from the Army's Fifth Corps was shot and killed at close range by an unknown assailant with a pistol while directing traffic in east Baghdad. In the second case, a U.S. soldier was shot at close range and injured, also while directing traffic. The soldier was taken to a local military medical facility, according to Central Command, and his condition is unknown. The gunmen weren't captured, Central Command said. Neither soldier has been identified.
• Kuwaiti officials and coalition forces are trying to identify remains from a mass grave site found recently near Samawa in southern Iraq, according to Central Command. Based on evidence at the site, Central Command said Friday that the remains could be those of Kuwaitis missing since Iraq's 1990 invasion.
• The Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid is considering setting up a special court system in Iraq to try those responsible for crimes against the Iraqi people, a senior U.S. adviser said Thursday. "In all probability we will see some sort of special chamber set up within the Iraqi system composed of Iraqi judges using Iraqi prosecutors who will handle this," said Clint Williamson, the office's adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. (Full story)
CNN Correspondents John King, Suzanne Malveaux, Jamie McIntyre, Liz Neisloss, Michael Okwu, Karl Penhaul and Barbara Starr and Producer Matthew McFetridge contributed to this report.
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