For years, the only Iraqis to speak at the United Nations were Saddam Hussein’s men. They came to the U-N, not to represent the Iraqi people, but to lie about the Iraqi dictator’s violations of international law, aggression against other nations, and massive human rights abuses.
That is no longer the case. On December 16th, Iraq’s interim foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, addressed the U-N Security Council. He urged the U-N not to delay in helping his country recover from Saddam Hussein’s ruinous rule:
“The U-N as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over thirty-five years. The U-N must not fail the Iraqi people again.”
Mr. Zebari said that continued disagreements among U-N members were complicating efforts to return government in Iraq to the people:
“This squabbling over political differences takes a back seat to their daily struggle for security, jobs, basic freedoms, and all the rights the U-N is chartered to uphold.”
Mr. Zebari also stressed that Iraqis should play “a full part in any initiatives that concern the future of [their] country”:
“Without Iraqi participation in discussions that have Iraqi interests at stake, such as the recently formed U-N contact group, decisions taken cannot be held valid.”
Mr. Zebari’s points are well taken. And one hopes that U-N members will take them to heart.
As President George W. Bush said at the U-N in September, the U.S.-led coalition’s primary goal “is self-government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic process. This process must unfold according to the needs of the Iraqis, neither hurried, nor delayed by the wishes of other parties. And the United Nations,” said President Bush, “can contribute greatly to the cause of Iraqi self-government.”