Secretary of State Colin Powell is heading back to Washington after completing a brief European mission to Ankara, Belgrade and Brussels. On his final stop, in the Belgian capital he conferred with NATO leaders on how a post-war Iraq would be rebuilt and governed.
U.S. European allies have made no secret of their desire to see the United Nations take a leading role in rebuilding post-war Iraq. And at a closing news conference in Brussels, Mr. Powell said the U.N. will definitely play a part in the process.
However, he said it was the U.S.-led coalition which took on the mission of liberating Iraq at considerable cost including the lives of its servicemen, and he said it should be the coalition that has dominant influence in decisions after the war.
"I think the coalition has to play the leading role in determining the way forward," secretary Powell said. "This is not to say that we have to shut others out. And not to say that we will not work in partnership with the international community, and especially with the United Nations."
Mr. Powell said he was hopeful U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will soon name a U.N. coordinator to work with the coalition's planned military administration, and with interim Iraqi authority that would succeed it, to help supervise the flow of relief and reconstruction aid.