Tuesday, 18 May 2004
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Taxation, yes, and foreign policy, particularly in regard to common security and defence will be decided by unanimity. We cannot be forced into a position against our will under any of the areas.
Deputy Rabbitte asked two questions. I totally agree with him and colleagues have raised the strengthening of social dimension issues. We will defend the position on social dimension so that there will be no diminution in this area or any change in it.
The Iraq issue comes up in all meetings at every level. All my colleagues hope to see the drafting of a further resolution, which will begin this week, that will allow Kofi Annan's special representative, Mr. Brahimi, to bring in an interim government on 30 June pending elections as early in 2005 as possible. There is doubt about how early. It was to be January 2005 but some people doubt the possibility of doing that.
The major issue is that practically everyone believes a further UN resolution is needed and it must be absolutely clear on how the jurisdiction will operate from 1 July, particularly the control of policing and all interim arrangements. That will be difficult but there is a united position not only within Europe but among some of the large blocs on the Security Council. Premier Wen said it last week and I will hear it from Mr. Putin later this week. They all want a resolution that gives absolute control to the UN so that Mr. Brahimi and his administration will be the driving force on this issue.
If we do not go down that road the difficulties will continue. It will be hard enough to stabilise the process and resolve the associated difficulties even with a UN resolution. If there is to be a new Administration with the vice presidents and an assembly, the combined view is that it will not work unless it is copperfastened by a clear resolution. For the next six weeks the debate will concern that resolution, the drafting of which is to commence this week.