VP Biden Chairs UN Security Council, as Pre-Saddam Sanctions Lifted on Iraq

By Jared

Dec 15, 2010 5:35pm

ABC News' Ann Compton reports: Vice President Joe Biden stepped forward on the world stage in three separate venues as the administration's policies moved toward a series of year end deadlines.

As the Senate took up debate on ratification of the new START treaty, slashing nuclear stockpiles in the U.S. and Russia, Biden delivered a stern warning to Republican Senators seeking to stall or stop the treaty.

"Get out of the way. There's too much at stake for America’s national security," Biden said in an interview on MSNBC. "And don't tell me about Christmas. I understand Christmas."

One senator, Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona, had cautioned it was inappropriate to debate nuclear limits during the Christmas season. Kyl is an opponent seeking to defeat the treaty.

"I have been a Senator for a long time. I have been there many years where we go right up to Christmas. There's ten days between now and Christmas. I hope i don't get in the way of your Christmas shopping, you about this is the nation's business. This is a national security at stake. Act. Act," Biden said.

The post-Saddam government of Iraq was rewarded for recent political progress by the UN Security Council, with American Vice President Joe Biden chairing the session.  “Iraq is on the cusp of something remarkable, a stable, self-reliant nation,” Biden declared. Iraq has been his most sensitive portfolio on behalf of the Obama administration, and the US chairs the Security Council this month, giving Biden a rare moment in a global seat of power. The Security Council voted unanimously to lift economic sanctions dating back to the restrictions imposed on Saddam Hussein’s government after he invaded neighboring Kuwait more than 19 years ago.  Iraq’s new leadership is finally forming a government in the wake of elections months ago. In the Security Council chamber, Biden pressed for passage of three new UN resolutions, insisting,  "In recent years, the Iraqi people have emerged from the depths of sectarian violence and they have flatly rejected the grim future offered by extremists, and they have earned themselves a chance for much better days ahead." Biden last visited Iraq as the US combat mission in Iraq ended officially on August 31, 2010. A year from now most all remaining American trainers and personnel are to come home. “Iraqi forces are now in charge of securing their country, “Biden told the Council, “and they have proved themselves more than capable of doing so.” While in New York, Biden also paid a courtesy call on the ailing Saudi monarch King Abdullah, who is receiving medical treatment at a U.S. hospital. Biden met with the king's son and delivered a personal letter to King Abdullah from President Obama. –Ann Compton

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