Economía y Politica Internacionales
Powell pide un rol más importante de la OTAN y la ONU en Irak
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New York Times
Powell Calls for Increased NATO and U.N. Roles in Iraq
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell on Thursday urged NATO to consider expanding its activities in Iraq, in the Bush administration's most pointed appeal for international help since it went to war in the spring. He also called for more involvement from the United Nations.
"The United States welcomes a greater NATO role in Iraq's stabilization," Mr. Powell said in a speech to fellow NATO ministers. "We welcome a more robust United Nations role as well."
The secretary stopped short of making any specific requests. NATO currently provides logistical support to the Polish-led multinational division operating in south-central Iraq. In recent days Mr. Powell and other administration officials have suggested that NATO consider taking that division over.
Ministers in the 19-nation security alliance — some of whom strongly opposed the war that toppled the government of Saddam Hussein — reacted coolly, with some suggesting that NATO already had its hands full in Afghanistan.
Some countries, like France and Germany, have long made it clear that they will contribute troops only under United Nations command. But none of the ministers opposed Mr. Powell's suggestion outright on Thursday, the ministers said.
Mr. Powell's remarks, at a regularly scheduled meeting of NATO diplomats, were an indication of the strength of Bush administration's intent to find help in handling the costs and sacrifices of rebuilding Iraq with international partners.
Faced with a self-imposed deadline of this summer to transfer authority to an interim government, American officials also appear eager to increase the international legitimacy of their efforts in Iraq.
Washington is testing the waters after a series of attacks on its allies in Iraq that brought recent casualties to Italy, Britain, Turkey, Spain and Japan. The governments of those countries have said that despite rising public opposition, their support will not waver.
In Brussels, Mr. Powell, citing a United Nations resolution encouraging multilateral and regional groups to help rebuild Iraq, pressed NATO ministers to prepare for decisions by June, when NATO heads of state meet in Turkey to welcome seven new members.
Some diplomats expressed concerns that discussing more NATO involvement could revive the international rifts that opened in the prelude to the invasion of Iraq.
But some American officials seem certain of NATO's eventual willingness. Also in Brussels on Thursday, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said a larger role for NATO in Iraq was all but inevitable. "Within the next year you will see NATO getting involved in taking over the operations in Iraq, at least the start of such an involvement," Mr. Biden told a group of policy analysts.
Mr. Powell suggested that the United Nations, which drastically scaled back its operations in Iraq after its Baghdad headquarters were bombed in August, could claim a more prominent role without a new Security Council resolution. In a meeting in his home last month, Mr. Powell said, he prodded the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, to find a way back into the country.
The Polish foreign minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, said the United Nations role should be expanded before NATO increased its efforts. "It's still too early," he said, according to The Associated Press. "However, we should keep in mind the fact that most of the NATO member states are present in Iraq." He added that "we believe that it would be wise if NATO engages itself deeper."
Some foreign policy experts said the administration, facing elections next fall, was moving to extricate itself from the reconstruction of Iraq.
Lord Robertson, NATO's secretary general, confirmed that no NATO member had ruled out playing a bigger role in Iraq. But he said several ministers had expressed concern that NATO might be stretched too thin as it expanded its activities in Afghanistan, which an American-led force invaded in October 2001 as part of the campaign against terrorism prompted by the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
A NATO-led international force of 5,700 is to be expanded to operate beyond Kabul, the Afghan capital. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on a visit to Afghanistan on Thursday, said he supported NATO's discussions on setting up provisional reconstruction teams, which carry out security operations, train local police officers and help in rebuilding.
In another sensitive matter on both sides of the Atlantic, European ministers continued to struggle with efforts to adopt a common defense policy. The nations struck a deal to guarantee mutual assistance in case of an attack and to create a special unit, but not a headquarters, to handle planning and operations.