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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Security Council Debates Resolution

UNITED NATIONS -- The Security Council on Thursday began debating a new U.S. draft resolution on handing over power in Baghdad to Iraqis and giving the United Nations a larger role.

Germany, which opposed the U.S.-led invasion, gave a warm initial response, but Paris reacted with a "no comment."

Seeking to answer critics of the war, the draft said "the day when Iraqis govern themselves must come quickly." It called on the U.S.-led coalition running Iraq "to continue its practice of transferring as quickly as practicable effective and substantial executive responsibility."

In Berlin, a senior German government official said the draft represented progress, though more work was needed on defining a transfer of power to Iraqis and the future UN role in the country.

"I think the way things are moving we can be very optimistic," said the official on condition of anonymity.

In Paris, Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said the French were "attentively studying" the text.

Earlier this month, French President Jacques Chirac said his government would not veto a new Iraq resolution and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has praised a U.S. commitment to have the Iraqis draw up a constitution within six months.

De Villepin also said Paris believed an eventual transfer of power from the U.S.-led occupation to a sovereign Iraqi government could take place by the end of the year. But the new draft did not set a timetable for the Americans and British to hand over power -- a key demand especially of France.

On the key issue of UN involvement, the draft says the world body "should strengthen its vital role in Iraq." It would authorize the United Nations to assist the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council in preparing a constitution and holding elections.

It encourages Secretary-General Kofi Annan to consider providing assistance to help draft the constitution, conduct elections, reform the judiciary and civil service and train an Iraqi police force.

But the resolution does not give the United Nations the primary role sought by some countries to oversee Iraq's political transition to a democratic state.