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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 June, 2004, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Iraqi leader urges troops to stay
Iyad Allawi
Allawi: Appointed by Iraq's governing council
Iraq's new interim leader has urged the UN to keep foreign troops in Iraq until it can deal with security by itself.

Iyad Allawi - who was named as prime minister a week ago - told the BBC he backs a UN resolution on the transfer of sovereignty to the new government.

Mr Allawi said the resolution currently being debated by the UN would help "secure Iraq from its enemies".

He also said he expected ousted leader Saddam Hussein to be handed over for trial in Iraq.

The interim government led by Mr Allawi was appointed over the past week in a process overseen by the UN.

'Co-operation'

Speaking on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Allawi said: "We'd like the multinational forces to remain in Iraq for some time - until Iraq is capable of handling its own security problems."

"We hope we can achieve this as quickly as possible."

"We'd like the UN to help us... We're adamant that multinational forces should be employed in Iraq."

Following controversy over who would have ultimate control of US troops in Iraq after the handover of power at the end of June, Mr Allawi said operations should be carried out with the "full agreement" of the Iraqi government.

He said he did not like to use the word "veto", but said there should be "full and comprehensive co-ordination and co-operation between the Iraqi government and the multinational forces both in defensive and offensive situations".

Competent Iraqis

Mr Allawi said besides security, the most pressing issues for him and the government were economic problems and restoring basic services.

He said the way prominent Baath party members were removed from posts at Iraqi institutions by coalition forces following the war had not helped efforts to keep the country running.

Mr Allawi also said he would not necessarily stand in national elections, which are due to be held in January.

"I am open really - it depends on what happens," he said.

He said his "concern is to put Iraq on the path of recovery", and if that happened, it would not matter whether he or someone else was put in charge.

"There are competent Iraqis both within and outside Iraq who should assume a role in the future," he said.


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