Accessibility links

Support Growing for Iraqi Governing Council, says Chief - 2003-08-24

A delegation representing the U.S.-appointed Iraqi governing council visited with Egyptian and Arab League officials Sunday in Cairo as part of an effort to gain support from throughout the Arab world. The head of the governing council says he believes support is growing.

The purpose of the delegation's visit was to explain how the Iraqi governing council works and what its goals are. The council is trying to win Arab backing.

The head of Iraq's U.S. appointed council, Ibrahim Jaafari, met in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. Afterwards, Mr. Jaafari said his delegation, which has traveled to the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said they are receiving a positive response.

Mr. Jaafari said the position of all of the countries the delegation has visited has been one of cooperation. He said the feelings were positive and said there was an excellent understanding.

Mr. Jaafari said the fact the invitations were extended for the delegation to make the visits amounted to official recognition.

The head of the Iraqi governing council said the council intends to send a representative to next month's scheduled meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

But Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said the group must vote on whether to recognize the Iraqi representative.

Mr. Moussa said Arab states are making contact with political entities in Iraq other than the governing council. But, he said, the League's follow-up committee has given its official approval to meet with governing council members.

"There is no other entity in Iraq now except the seed, the political seed in Iraq is rich with tribes, political parties, political leaders or citizens that want to talk to us. But, as you know, the follow-up committee has already approved that contacts and consultations with members of the council or delegation that we received today is very much in order," Mr. Mouss said.

Last month, Egypt and other Arab states said they would not give official recognition to the legitimacy of the governing council, and called for a government elected by Iraqis.

The Iraqi delegation arrived in Egypt from Saudi Arabia and is to travel go to Jordan Monday.