By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
Aug. 13, 2007 - The United Nations will soon be playing a bigger political role in Iraq, after the Security Council unanimously voted to extend its mission there another year while expanding its mandate. The Aug 10 vote on U.N. Resolution 1770 broadens the responsibilities of the U.N.'s four-year-old mission in Iraq. Under terms of the resolution, cosponsored by the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Slovakia, the U.N. will now provide increased assistance to the Iraqi government on domestic reconciliation that leads to a national compact.
"Clearly, domestic reconciliation is the responsibility of the Iraqi people and the government, but the United Nations can lend specific expertise to help this process," Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the U.N, said following the vote.
The U.N. will also promote regional understanding that supports Iraq's reconciliation. "This updated mandate marks another important step along the road to increased support for Iraq from the region and the international community," Khalilzad said.
In addition, the U.N. will marshal resources to assist Iraqis affected by the humanitarian crisis.
"In fulfilling the tasks set out in this resolution, U.N. staff in Iraq are making, have made and will make a vital contribution to Iraq's future stability," Khalilzad said.
He said the resolution marks "an important new phase in the U.N.'s role in Iraq" and a recognition that Iraq has far-reaching implications.
"This resolution underscores the widespread belief that what happens in Iraq has strategic implications, not only for the region, but for the entire world," Khalilzad said.
He expressed hope that the resolution will serve as "a springboard to greater international support for Iraq's government and people."
The United States, as part of Multinational Force Iraq, will do its part "to ensure that the U.N.'s security and resource needs are met, so that the U.N.'s expertise can be fully deployed to help address the challenges in Iraq," he said.