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Iraqi Governing Council Seeks Election Timetable - 2003-11-25

Iraq's governing council has sent the U.N. Security Council a timetable for elections leading to self-rule and general elections by 2005. The Iraqis are also asking for another resolution recognizing a date for ending the U.S.-led occupation.

A letter for Iraqi Governing Council President Jalal Talabani sets out the timetable. It calls for dissolving the U.S.-led coalition and establishing a provisional government by next June. That would be followed in early 2005 by elections to choose delegates to a constitutional convention. A referendum on a draft constitution would be held a few months later, with general elections for a new Iraqi government by the end of 2005.

The timetable -- drafted in collaboration with U.S. and British officials -- was submitted three weeks ahead of a December 15 deadline the Security Council set last month.

Mr. Talabani's letter also includes a request for a fresh Security Council resolution recognizing the timetable. Washington's U.N. ambassador, John Negroponte, responded coolly to the proposal, saying only that it is being considered. "I think we'll have to study it. We just got the letter," he said. "We'll have to consult with Washington and with other delegations, but we took note of the request and we'll be back to council and back to yourselves with regard to the next steps in the not too distant future."

In a separate letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Iraqi Governing Council president urges speedy appointment of a replacement for U.N. Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Mr. Vieira de Mello was killed in the attack on U.N. headquarters in Baghdad August 19. A U.N. spokesman Monday told reporters that appointment could come within days.