The Security Council has unanimously voted in favour of expanding the United Nations’ role in Iraq. The move is aimed at reconciling the country’s rival groups, winning support from neighboring countries and tackling Iraq’s humanitarian crisis. The United States and Britain, who have the largest military forces in Iraq, co-sponsored the resolution. Washington’s ambassador to the UN is Zalmay Khalilzad:“Domestic reconciliation is the responsibility of the Iraqi people and government. But the United Nations can lend specific expertise to help this process”.
Critics say the resolution is a way for the Bush administration to get the international community to pick up the pieces in Iraq after years of chaos. But UK ambassador Emyr Jones Parry says only a combined effort can bring peace back to Iraq: “I’emphasize once more that a democratic and stable Iraq, at peace with itself, fine with its neighbours, can only be delivered through a collective effort by all”. Strong security concerns remain among UN personnel, especially following the August 2003 attack against the Organisation’s headquarters in Baghdad in which 22 workers were killed including the UN special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.