06/10/2004, 00.00
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Shi'ites, Sunnis, Kurds welcome the UN resolution

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Mainstream Shia and Sunni Arab politicians yesterday welcomed a new UN resolution unanimously agreed by the UN security council on Tuesday night which promises broad powers to the interim government after June 30.

"The importance of this resolution for the Iraqis is really to take away the status of occupation, which has been very damaging," said Adnan al-Khadhemi, a senior official with the Islamic Dawa party. "The UN resolution gives Iraqis the right to control our own destiny. The big powers who voted through this resolution must stick to their words."

Dr Sa'ad Jawad, a senior official at the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said: "It's not 100% sovereignty, but it gives big authority on political affairs and security, which makes it possible for the government to run the country."

The document also fuelled dissatisfaction among Kurds.

Despite enshrining financial and military powers, the resolution failed to refer explicitly to the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), the temporary law passed in March that sets out Iraq's immediate political future.

Iraq's Kurdish minority, which was systematically persecuted under Saddam Hussein, worries that the omission threatens the guarantees of self-rule it received in the document.

The interim law, considered among the most progressive legal documents in the Middle East, enshrines a bill of rights, the first quota of women in a future parliament and the establishment of Iraq as a federal state - the key desire for the north-based Kurds.

The U.N. resolution refers to the government's commitment to a federal Iraq, but does not mention a transitional law passed in March, which guarantees Kurdish self-rule in the north. Despite assurances from UN and US officials that the "spirit of the constitution" is in the resolution, Kurds argued that its omission called into question its status.

Yesterday Kurdish leaders threatened to quit Allawi's government unless the U.N. Security Council backed Kurdish autonomy in the resolution that was unanimously adopted on Tuesday. One of Iraq's two main Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani, gave the U.N. resolution mixed marks.

"We are happy that the Security Council resolution mentioned federalism, but we regret that it did not mention the Kurdish people," he told a Kurdish television station

Today, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Iraq has resolved a dispute over Kurdish autonomy, discussing it with Kurdish leader in Baghdad.

In New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the resolution was "equitable and fair", adding: "I think all sides should be able to work with it." But he warned the threat of continued violence could place limits on the UN's freedom of action.

Sheikh Riad al- Khademi, a leading supporter of the militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, denounced the UN resolution as "an attempt to anaesthetise the Iraqi people".

He added: "The UN is controlled by the Americans. Why should we believe their lies?"

The unanimous vote by the United Nations Security Council setting out the terms for Iraq's future received broad international support yesterday, even from governments that have been sharply critical of Washington's Iraq policy.  For US President George W. Bush, hosting the G8 summit, the resolution is "a great victory for the Iraqi people".
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