Accessibility links

Iraqi Leaders Disagree with Timing of Power Transfer in New UN Resolution - 2003-10-16

Iraq's interim leaders have reacted to the latest United Nations resolution aimed at accelerating the return of sovereignty to Iraqis in exchange for broader support among U.N. member nations for Iraqi reconstruction. The Iraqi leaders commented on the resolution during a summit of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia.

The chairman of Iraq's interim Governing Council, Ayad Allawi, says there are no basic differences among U.N. Security Council members over the principle that there should be a transfer of power from the Provisional Coalition Authority to Iraqi leaders. But he says there is disagreement over when that transfer should occur, and this is an important issue.

"There are differences in timing and using [implementing] any resolution without that would be incomplete," he said. "There would be a defect. And I don't think Iraqis would agree to it because what's important for us is there should be at the end of this tunnel we are in, a light that shows us that there will be a transfer of power at the end to the Iraqis and they will have their sovereignty and independence."

Mr. Allawi this month holds the rotating chairmanship of the Governing Council. He is heading a delegation of council members and cabinet ministers to the Islamic Conference, or OIC, in Malaysia this week.

OIC leaders are debating a draft resolution that would call for the United Nations to set a timetable for the transfer of power. The Iraqi leader expressed appreciation for this support, but said the Governing Council should set the timetable.

Mr. Allawi said the Governing Council also opposes the sending of any troops from neighboring countries to Iraq. This remark was in response to reports that Turkey is prepared to send up to 10,000 soldiers to bolster security.

The Iraqi leaders say Iraqis should be given responsibility for security in their country. Coalition authorities say this can only happen after a new constitution is drafted and elections are held.

About 100 coalition troops have been killed in attacks since major hostilities ended in Iraq last May. In addition, there have been nearly one dozen car bombings against the United Nations, the Jordanian and Turkish embassies, police stations, and other groups seen as collaborating with coalition forces.

Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebar confirmed that some of the attacks are by international terrorists.

"Yes, there are terrorists groups and members of al-Qaida active in Iraq who are working to conduct their terrorist attacks against the coalition and against Iraqi targets at the same time," said Mr. Zebar.

Mr. Zebar says these individuals have entered Iraq through neighboring countries and pose a serious threat to security and stability.

However, he said other attacks are coming from remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime that often target infrastructure like power plants and oil pipelines. These groups, he says, have no agenda except to disrupt and derail the political transition in Iraq. He said these groups do not have a large constituency and their attacks are largely regionalized.