Related Content: Ambassador Rice introduces the December program of work for the UN Security Council.
Today marks an important milestone in the restoration of Iraq's normalized ties to the international community. The UN Security Council, in a special session chaired by Vice President Joseph Biden, took significant steps to return Iraq to the legal and international standing it held prior to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait with the passage of three resolutions. The resolutions adopted today by the Security Council will lift several longstanding Chapter VII restrictions on Iraqi trade and activity.
The three Security Council resolutions passed today are Resolution 1956, which terminates the UN supervised arrangements for the Development Fund for Iraq on June 30, 2011; Resolution 1957 which ends restrictions related to civilian nuclear cooperation placed on Iraq after the first Gulf War; and Resolution 1958, which ends the residual activities of the Oil for Food program.
Additionally, the Security Council issued a Presidential statement reaffirming the Security Council's commitment to Iraq and support for UNAMI, welcoming Iraqi progress and reintegration into the region, and encouraging Iraq and all regional states to deepen and broaden their relationships. With today's action by the Security Council the United States and the international community are keeping their commitments to the Government and the people of Iraq.
Speaking to the UN Security Council, Vice President Biden said, "I firmly believe that despite these challenges, Iraq's best days are ahead. As a founding member of the United Nations, Iraq seeks and deserves the opportunity to resume its rightful role in the community of nations. Toward that end, this session formally acknowledges the significant steps Iraq has taken toward fulfilling its obligations to the United Nations incurred in the lead-up to the 1991 Gulf War.
"Accordingly, the Security Council has now lifted a restriction imposed by the United Nations Security Resolutions 687 and 707, relating to weapons of mass destruction and civilian nuclear activities, in recognition of Iraq's commitment to nonproliferation; its compliance with relevant treaties and other international instruments; its adherence to the highest nonproliferation standards, and its provisional application of the additional protocols to its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency pending its entry into force.
"The Council has also terminated the residual activities of the Oil for Food program because Iraq has successfully closed out remaining contracts and the Council has ended the development fund for Iraq effective June 30, 2011, due to the steps Iraq has taken toward resolving debts and claims inherited from the previous regime and establishing accountable arrangements for transitioning the fund.
"We all know that our work on these issues is not complete. We urge Iraq's neighbors and the rest of the international community to continue to work closely with Iraq on its remaining Chapter 7 obligations. And we strongly support resolution of outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait.
"Since President Obama asked me to oversee our administration's Iraqi policy when we took office, let me assure you that the United States will continue to work with the Iraqi leaders on the important tasks that lie ahead, conducting the census, integrating Kurdish forces into Iraqi security forces, keeping commitments to the Sons of Iraq, resolving disputed internal boundaries in the future of Kirkuk, passing critical hydrocarbon legislation and a fiscally responsible budget, and helping to stabilize its economy.
"We must also continue our efforts to protect and support those displaced by war, and to help enable voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable returns.
"Today, as we take stock of all the Iraqi people have endured and accomplished, and all that still must be done, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Iraq is on the cusp of something remarkable - something remarkable - a stable, self-reliant nation; a just, representative and accountable government; and a positive force for peace and stability in the region. We all have an interest in redeeming that promise and preserving the gains Iraq has made."