Vienna, 8 June 2004 - Minister for Foreign Affairs Benita Ferrero-Waldner welcomed the just adopted Resolution 1546 on Iraq, on which the members of the UN Security Council have finally reached agreement in intensive negotiations following consultations with the Iraqi interim government: "This resolution strengthens the Iraqi interim government, which is an important prerequisite for pacification and stabilisation of the situation in Iraq". Ferrero-Waldner continued that the new resolution, which welcomes the reassertion of Iraq's full sovereignty and grants the Iraqi interim government far-reaching powers following the handover on 30 June 2004, was a significant step towards the establishment of a sovereign Iraqi state: "I am confident that the resolution represents an essential contribution towards a positive development in Iraq", said the Foreign Minister.
Ferrero-Waldner also voiced her pleasure at the unanimous vote in the Security Council, which underlined the international community's will to cooperate and should also be seen as a further expression of support for the Iraqi interim government: "The unanimous agreement of the Security Council is a good prerequisite for a strong involvement of the United Nations in the further procedure to be followed in Iraq. This UN involvement is an essential precondition for greater security in Iraq, as well as for the reconstruction of the country. I have always emphasised that the United Nations must be assigned a major role in the future development of Iraq", the Foreign Minister explained.
The adoption of the resolution confirmed Austria's and the European Union's advocation of a leading role for the United Nations. "I see this as a confirmation of the Austrian line, as expressed in the Austrian National Security Council's recommendations of 29 January and 24 March 2003," Ferrero-Waldner said.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs added that the European Union's recently elaborated medium-term strategy for Iraq will be discussed at the next EU General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 14 June. The objectives of this strategy include supporting the development of a stable and democratic Iraq, the opening and diversification of the Iraqi economy and Iraq's integration into the regional context.