China calls for Iraq sovereignty
While welcoming another UN Security Council resolution to cover Iraq's new situation, China's Foreign Ministry has called for substantial amendments to the resolution submitted by the US and British governments. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that the Iraqi interim government should exercise full sovereignty, in the political, economic, security, judicial and diplomatic areas, including the power to control and dispose of all natural and economic resources, sign economic cooperation agreements and contracts, and enjoy judicial independence and the power to administer prisons in Iraq. China also called for a time limit on the stay of the US-led multinational force as well as a say by Iraqis on their operation, after power was transferred to a new Iraqi government on June 30. In a three-page paper, China said that the multinational force's mandate would expire in January 2005 in keeping with the timetable of the Iraqi political process, and its extension should have the consent of the new Iraqi Government and be decided by the Security Council. The United States and British draft resolution does not give a timetable for the withdrawal of their forces. It only stipulates that the force's mandate would be reviewed one year later or at the request of the Iraqis. Nor does it mention whether the new Iraqi government would have full control of its army, have a say on the multinational force's actions or have the right to sign economic contracts with foreign countries.