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Powell Uses European Trip to Focus on Iraq - 2004-04-29


Secretary of State Colin Powell is closing out a brief European trip, today, having talks in Copenhagen with Danish officials, centering on Iraq. He is trying to keep the coalition together, while promoting a new United Nations Security Council resolution to help empower the Iraqi interim government.

Mr. Powell went to Berlin for the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe conference on combating anti-Semitism. But he is also using the two-day trip to urge steadfastness by other countries taking part in the Iraq coalition -- including North Atlantic Treaty Organization-ally Denmark, which has about 500 troops serving there.

He will have talks with Danish officials, including Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to discuss plans for the interim government being worked out by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. He told reporters here the new Iraqi authority will have broad powers, even though the peacekeepers will remain under American command:

"We want to return as much sovereignty to this interim government as it is prepared to handle," says Mr. Powell. "Clearly, security will be a concern that can only be met by the coalition military forces that are there."

Mr. Powell says there are precedents from such an arrangement, including Germany after World War II and South Korea after the Korean conflict of the 1950s.

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