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Security Council Debates Draft Resolution on Iraq - 2004-05-26


The U.N. Security Council is debating a draft resolution on Iraq, as Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi puts together an interim government in Baghdad. Progress is being made on both fronts.

Security Council consultations on the draft Iraq resolution are closed, reflecting the early stage of the debate. Several council members - among them France, Germany, Russia and China - have made it clear they will insist on changes before it is acceptable to them.

But the council president, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, says the negotiations have been harmonious. He says even co-sponsors, Britain and the United States, are amending the resolution as the process of political transition in Iraq comes into focus.

?Even the co-sponsors indicate there are some blanks that need to be filled in, because we do not have the composition of the Iraqi government, we do not have several other elements that will need to go into the draft resolution,? he said. ?So I think it is premature to endorse it. But I think it is a workable framework.?

Half a world away, in Baghdad, U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is racing against the clock to put together an interim Iraqi government that will take power when the coalition is dissolved June 30.

Western media have reported that Canadian-educated nuclear scientist Hussain Shahristani is being considered for the powerful post of interim prime minister. Mr. Shahristani spent nearly 11 years as a prisoner at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison after refusing to help Iraq leader Saddam Hussein develop a nuclear-weapons program

U.N. officials confirm that Mr. Shahristani and Mr. Brahimi have met several times during the past few weeks. They declined to comment on speculation about possible appointments, calling it unhelpful.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard emphasized that Mr. Brahimi is consulting with as many Iraqi individuals, groups, and political factions as possible to come up with a consensus prime minister.

?These are not names he has chosen, they are names that have emerged from his broad consultations,? Mr. Eckhard said. ?So these are people that Iraqis feel they would like to have as their leaders. And it is now a question of getting a slate that all factions can agree on, a consensus slate.?

In addition to a prime minister, the U.N. envoy will name someone to serve in the largely ceremonial post of president. He will also appoint two vice presidents and 26 interim ministers.

Mr. Brahimi has said he would like the appointees to be people with no ambition to run in elections for a transitional government, which are expected in December or January.