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Annan to Unveil Iraq Election Recommendations


Diplomats say U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has agreed with the United States that direct elections are not feasible in Iraq before a planned transfer of sovereignty on June 30.

The secretary-general is meeting with U.N. ambassadors Thursday, to announce his recommendation on elections.

The U.S. administrator in Iraq says the security situation and the lack of election laws make elections impossible before the U.S.-led coalition plans to transfer power to an interim Iraqi government June 30.

Diplomats at the U.N. say the U.S.-backed plan for regional caucuses to chose a transitional government is no longer workable, and other options are under consideration. The secretary-general is expected to delay for at least a week, his recommendations on how to select an interim Iraqi government to assume sovereignty.

Mr. Annan sent his special advisor, Lakhdar Brahimi, on a fact-finding mission last week to Iraq. He will report to Mr. Annan Thursday, on his meetings with members of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and Shi'ite leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani - who has called for direct elections.

Meanwhile in Iraq, the U.S. military says two American soldiers and one Iraqi were killed in a roadside bomb blast Thursday morning near the town of Khaldiyah, west of Baghdad.

And late Wednesday, one U.S. soldier was injured when insurgents fired more than 30 mortars and five rockets at the Abu Ghraib prison on the western edge of Baghdad. A U.S. military spokesman said soldiers shot and killed one of the attackers and detained 55 people for questioning.

Abu Ghraib is one of the largest U.S. run prison facility in Iraq. It was Iraq's most notorious prison during the rule of Saddam Hussein.