Byline: Jonathan Walker
Coalition forces will face 'fierce resistance' from troops loyal to Saddam Hussein as the Iraqi regime nears its end, Jack Straw warned yesterday.
But Saddam would remain a 'scar on the conscience of the world', the Foreign Secretary said.
He praised the coverage of the war provided by regional newspapers including The Birmingham Post, describing them as a 'pillar of British democracy'.
But he also suggested some sections of the national media had sacrificed the need for accuracy in the rush to get stories out.
Mr Straw called for the United Nations to play a central role in forming the new government in Iraq.
Speaking to regional newspapers in London, he said: 'We will work with the United Nations and others on the long term redevelopment and rehabilitation of Iraq.
'We will be seeking new UN Security Council resolutions to affirm Iraq's territorial integrity and to endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration.
'I very much hope that following the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, the UN will have a leading role in organising a conference to bring together representatives from all sections of Iraq's society.
'The objective of such a conference would be to place the responsibility for decisions about Iraq's political and economic future firmly in the hands of Iraq's own people.'
Iraq's oil wealth would be used to benefit the Iraqi people by redeveloping the country, he said, and the UN would oversee the medium and long-term international aid programme to Iraq.
Emergency relief would be channelled partly through the armed forces, which had received pounds 30 million for the task, and the Department for International Development, which had received pounds 210 million including pounds 115 million allocated to agencies such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent. …