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Islamic nations grumble over UN Iraq vote
( 2003-10-17 13:51) (Agencies)

Muslim leaders winding up a summit on Friday grumbled over a United Nations resolution on Iraq while criticizing a U.S. vote to impose trade sanctions on Baghdad's neighbor Syria.

The U.N. unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday aimed at getting troops and cash for Iraq, a diplomatic victory for the United States's efforts to broaden backing for its occupation.

In a late shift, a band of reluctant Security Council members backed the text, though France, Russia and Germany said it conceded too little on their demands for a greater U.N. role in Iraq for them to commit further troops or cash.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher told reporters it was for the United States to pick up the pieces in Iraq.

"It's not our job to raise money. The main responsibility is the responsibility of the occupying power," he said on the way into the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting.

But Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, appointed by the U.S.-backed Governing Council, welcomed the vote.

"It's very good news for the Iraqi people that the international community and the Security Council are united behind the need to stabilize Iraq and to create a better future for the Iraqi people," he told reporters at the summit.

Iyad Allawi, who heads the Iraqi council, criticized France, Germany and Russia for ignoring the new administration's views.

"As if we are pupils in a primary school, they want us to report to the Security Council. Unfortunately, they have not consulted with us," he said.

In preparatory meetings for the Putrajaya summit, the Iraqi council defied OIC ministers' efforts to push a resolution setting a timetable for U.S. forces to quit the country, saying the U.N. text was paramount to improving the security situation.

Pakistan, a Security Council member, was one of the Muslim countries the United States hoped would send troops if a U.N. mandate was obtained. Its foreign minister said on Friday that Islamabad would do so if parliament approved.


"Our position has not changed from the first day, which is we want to go after consulting our parliament, provided we are invited," Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri told reporters.

Nearly 100 U.S. personnel have been killed in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat five months ago, as have uncounted numbers of Iraqi fighters and civilians.

Leaders from the 57-nation OIC met with emotions running high over the occupation of Iraq and the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well as Israel's October 5 attack on Syrian territory.

Egypt's Maher criticized Wednesday's vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impose sanctions on Syria until the White House says Damascus has stopped sponsoring terrorism and halted programs for weapons of mass destruction.

"The method of issuing unilateral decisions and threats is not the best way to solve any problem, which should be handled through logical and reasonable dialogue.

"There has been dialogue between the U.S., Syria and the international community, so I don't understand the meaning or significance of hurrying to issue threats," he said.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the vote set "a very dangerous precedent."

"Israel attacked Syria, Syria got sanction," he told reporters late on Thursday.

Washington has said Syria must stop "harboring terrorists," but urged both Israel and Syria to avoid actions that could inflame tension in the region.

The summit is set to adopt strongly worded resolutions on all three issues later on Friday, although the texts will not mandate any sort of follow up.

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