View Full Version : U.N. Recommends Iraq Caretaker Government

04-14-04, 02:12 PM
Apr 14, 12:55 PM (ET)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq should dissolve the U.S.-picked Governing Council and set up a caretaker government of respected Iraqis to lead the country from the U.S. handover of power on June 30 until elections set for Jan. 31, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday. The caretaker government would be led by a prime minister and include a president and two vice presidents. It must include "Iraqi men and women known for their honesty, integrity and competence," Brahimi said. The U.N. envoy has been in Iraq since April 5 trying to work out a framework for the political process despite the worst violence since the fall of Saddam Hussein. A "consultative assembly" should also be created, but not an interim legislature, Brahimi said. The Governing Council would be dissolved when the caretaker government is handed sovereignty by U.S. administrators on June 30. "I am absolutely confident that most Iraqis want a simple solution for this interim period," he said. "You don't need a legislative body for this short period." Brahimi said he was "confident" that a government can be set up and that he would give U.N. chief Kofi Annan recommendations on how to do so when he returns to U.N. headquarters. But he acknowledged that security must improve "considerably" before the Jan. 31 election can take place. Violence in Iraq so far this month has killed at least 87 U.S. soldiers and about 880 Iraqis - the deadliest month since the military set foot in Iraq. Most of the deaths are from fighting in the Sunni city of Fallujah west of Baghdad and clashes with forces loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in cities south of the capital. Brahimi insisted U.N. and U.S. officials were cooperating but he denounced the U.S. military operation against Sunni insurgents in Fallujah, where civilian deaths have reportedly been high. "Collective punishment is certainly unacceptable and the siege of the city is absolutely unacceptable," Brahimi told a press conference. He also criticized the U.S.-led coalition's holding of Iraqi prisoners and U.S. efforts after Saddam's fall to root out high-ranking members of the ousted Baath Party from official positions. "It is difficult to understand that thousands upon thousands ... of professionals sorely needed in the country have been dismissed" due to Baathist ties, he said. Even some coalition officials have complained that the de-Baathification committee, headed by Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi, has gone too far in pursuing Baathists. Iraqi politicians and U.S. administrators have differed sharply over how to transfer power to Iraqis. That led the United States to abandon an earlier U.S. plan to choose a government through local caucuses. Unable to agree, Iraq's Governing Council and the coalition asked the United Nations to try to find a solution, prompting Brahimi's mission.