Methodist Church welcomes UN resolution on Iraq

The Methodist Church welcomes the UN Security Council Resolutionthat legitimises the transfer of power from the CoalitionProvisional Authority to an interim Iraqi government on 30June.

However, the new Iraqi government will take over a country thathas been devastated by war and its aftermath, as well as by theactions of the old regime and a decade of international sanctions.The Methodist Church recognises that a long-term commitment fromthe international community supporting the redevelopment of thecountry is needed to ensure that this damage is repaired.

Steve Hucklesby, Secretary for International Affairs, said"After 30 June, the Iraqi people regain full sovereignty and havethe opportunity to determine the future shape of their nation withthe assistance of the UN. The country will hold elections by 31January 2005. At the request of the Prime Minister of the newInterim Government, Dr Ayad Allaw, the UN resolution approves aMultinational Force to help provide security. This resolutionaffirms a vital international consensus on a way forward inIraq.

"In the coming months people are likely to look back andevaluate the actions of the Coalition Provisional Authority.Serious questions continue to be asked concerning the legitimacy ofa full-scale invasion of another country without UN approval whenour own country was not facing an imminent threat.

"For many the occupation of Iraq has diverted attention andresources away from the task of combating global terrorism and theconflict in Israel/Palestine. Tensions have increased in Iraq as aresult of violence from militia and terrorist groups and the moreaggressive campaigns of coalition forces that have resulted in thedeaths of many civilians. Around the world, people have beenshocked both by the brutal acts of terror groups, such as thebeheading of Nick Berg, and by the abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraibprison. The experience of the past 12 months reveals the difficultyof imposing a military intervention in advance of a clear strategyfor an impartial political process capable of gaining popularsupport.

"Against this backdrop the UN resolution provides more than aglimmer of hope. The Interim Government of Iraq acknowledges theformidable challenges ahead. Now US and British governments mustallow the road to a new Iraq to be navigated by Iraqis themselveswith the support of the United Nations."