De Villepin urges UN role in post-war Iraq

27 March 2003
The UN must play a central role in post-war reconstruction in Iraq in the interests of legitimacy and regional stability, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London on 27 March. 'The UN must be at the heart of the reconstruction and administration of Iraq,' he said. 'The legitimacy of our action depends on it. We must come together to build peace together in a region rife with a sense of insecurity and deep faultlines.' De Villepin said that France saw the priority as the UN passing a humanitarian resolution altering the oil-for-food programme. He also expressed the desire to build diplomatic bridges with the US after the rancour of the debate on a second UN resolution. 'We must now find again the path to European unity and reassert transatlantic solidarity -We must rebuild the world order shattered by the Iraq crisis.'

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in the US for talks with President Bush, on 26 March sought to play down the expectation that the meeting would decide on the extent of the UN's role in post-war Iraq. 'We are not at the point of discussing details on this,' Blair said, adding that his priority at present was a new oil-for-food resolution not the longer-term issue of reconstruction. However, he did claim that there was broad agreement between London and Washington on the principle of UN involvement in a post-war administration.

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