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Iraqi Politicians Charge US with Blocking Provisional Government


Iraq's would-be political leaders say the United States is trying to hold them back from forming a provisional government.

Some of main groups that opposed Saddam Hussein say they intend to push forward with the creation of a provisional government despite obstacles from Washington.

The American administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has told a seven-member council of Iraqi leaders the United States favors a less powerful Iraqi interim authority to be set up before substantial power is shifted to a new government.

A spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress, an anti-Saddam group, says that plan is not acceptable to the council. The spokesman, Entifad Qanbar, spoke at a Baghdad news conference Tuesday.

"The INC and members of the leadership council still reaffirm the immediate need to create a provisional government run by Iraqis as soon as possible. As we have repeatedly affirmed, there should be no vacuum in Iraqi sovereignty," Mr. Qanbar said.

Mr. Qanbar also criticized a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council, saying it does not give Iraqis immediate control of national assets, including the country's vast oil reserves.

Mr. Qanbar said discussions are continuing, and he hopes the United States changes its position. "I have witnessed many things being resisted by the United States, and then the United States turned around and did what we suggested for practical reasons, for technical reasons, and sometimes for moral reasons. Remember President Bush is calling for Iraqis to rule themselves. We are in compliance with his call," he said.

On another matter, Mr. Qanbar appealed for the international community to help conduct proper forensic tests at 14 mass gravesites found in the past week around Iraq. The graves contained the bodies of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein's repression.

Human rights experts say valuable evidence that could be used in trials for crimes against humanity, is being lost as Iraqis hastily dig up the graves.