The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the mandate of the 160,000-member multinational force in Iraq.
The council acted quickly in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who said a top government priority is to assume full responsibility for security and stability in the country but it needs more time.
The resolution, drafted by the United States, extends the mandate of the multinational force for one year starting on Dec. 31 and authorizes a review at the request of the Iraqi government or by June 15.
The resolution contains the same provision as past resolutions — a commitment that the council “will terminate this mandate earlier if requested by the government of Iraq.”
Al-Maliki’s request for the one-year extension with a termination clause came as the Bush administration stepped up diplomatic efforts to stabilize the country.