UN envoy signals death of IGC

UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been outlining recommendations for a transfer of power in Iraq leading up to elections next January.

He has proposed the scrapping of the US appointed Iraqi Governing Council when sovereignty is handed over on June the 30th – and also says the post of US civilian administrator for Iraq, held by Paul bremer, be abolished.

A new caretaker government should be appointed he says, led by a prime minister, a president and two vice presidents.

“I am confident that it will be possible to form such a government in a timely manner, that is, during the month of May 2004, ” Mr Brahimi said.

The demise of the council would not be mourned by many Iraqis. Its makeup – 13 Shi’ites, five Sunni Arabs, five Kurds, a Christian and an ethnic Turk – reflects the ethnic and religious makeup of the country, but many Iraqis viewed its members either as outsiders or as puppets of the Americans.

Fighting around Baghdad and Fallujah and in the south has left many Iraqis fearful over the country’s future and heightened resentment of the US occupation.

Paul Bremer, the chief US administrator in Iraq, welcomed Mr Brahimi’s recommendations.

“We hope that the UN will continue to use its expertise to play a vital role in advising Iraq as it moves forward with its political transition,” Mr Bremer said in a statement.

Mr Brahimi’s proposals came as Iraq’s US administrators have been anxious to show progress on the political front amid this month’s surge in violence, the most widespread and deadly since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Mr Brahimi has been in Iraq since April 5, his second visit to the country this year. He insisted on Thursday that UN and US officials were cooperating, but criticised the US military operation in Fallujah.

“Collective punishment is certainly unacceptable and the siege of the city is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

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