The United Nations Security Council has extended the mandate of the one-hundred-sixty-thousand member multinational force in Iraq. By a unanimous vote, the Security Council approved the force's presence in Iraq for another year.
The Council acted in response to a November 14th request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who said that establishing security and stability are among the highest priorities of the Iraqi government. "The people of Iraq," said Mr. Maliki, "are determined to establish a stable and peaceful democracy for themselves and a proper basis for building a vital economy. This vision for the future of Iraq," he said, "cannot become a reality without the help of the international community."
John Bolton, the U.S. Ambassador to the U-N, says the Security Council action "shows the resolve to continue to cooperate with the government in Iraq":
"I do think it shows not just to the United States but all the countries in the region that the Security Council remains strongly of the view that we need to see stability in Iraq and continued progress toward democracy, and I think that it was a unanimous vote shows that all of the countries want to contribute to it."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the Iraqi government and the multinational force share the goals of having Iraq take over the recruiting, training, equipping and arming of Iraqi security forces, and having Iraqis play a major role in providing security.
Ms. Rice says the cooperation and partnership between the multinational force and Iraq's government "has evolved over time to incorporate the increasing leadership by Iraqi security forces in fighting and deterring terrorism and other violent acts throughout Iraq's eighteen provinces."
Iraqis, says Ms. Rice, "want to live in peace. They went out in large numbers to vote for a democratically elected government, and our responsibility now is to figure out and to determine how we can better help the unity government of Prime Minister Maliki to meet this challenge."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.