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US, Iraqi Officials Speed Up Talks on Iraq's Future - 2004-05-30


With just one month to go before the United States transfers sovereignty in Iraq to the Iraqi people, American and Iraqi leaders are discussing the country's future with greater urgency.

Speaking on the ABC television program This Week, Iraqi Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi indicated that the members of the country's new government are due to be announced in coming days.

Mr. Pachachi added his support for Shiite Muslim politician Iyad Allawi, the man named Friday to be the country's interim prime minister. "Well, I've known him [Allawi] for some time, and he's a capable administrator," he said. "And I think probably we need a strong hand at the helm at present to deal with the problems of security and terrorism."

Mr. Pachachi said he believes that, in the future, the Iraqi government should be consulted and needs to agree to any large-scale multinational military operations. But he adds that he thinks a new interim Iraqi government will not ask U.S. forces to leave the country, at least not right away.

"Yes, it can, but of course it won't for the very simple reason that our own military and police forces and security forces are not adequate to deal with the deteriorating security situation," said Mr. Pachachi. "So, we have said that we would need a multinational force. And that's why we will accept what the [U.N.] Security Council will stipulate in its resolution next week, we hope."

On CNN's Late Edition, retired General Anthony Zinni, warned that Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer and U.N. envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi have difficult tasks ahead.

"We have a dangerous month coming up here," he said. "We need a U.N. resolution. We need to ensure that Brahimi and Bremer create some sort of interim government, when we pass sovereignty on the 30th of June, that is acceptable to the Iraqi people. Their [interim government's] job is to see this through to January, and elections."

General Zinni is a former commander of U.S. Central Command and a former U.S. Middle East envoy. He recently wrote a book criticizing the civilian leadership of the Pentagon and the war in Iraq.

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