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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
US 'to appoint Iraqi leadership'
US soldier in Iraq
There is growing frustration among Iraqis towards the coalition
Plans to allow a national conference of Iraqi groups to elect an interim administration may be scrapped, a senior US official in the country has suggested.

Instead, he said, a political council made up of 25 to 30 Iraqis may be appointed following consultation between the US-led coalition authorities and political and religious groups.

The original plan was to assemble a national conference in July with a wide variety of delegates, who would themselves select a new administration.

In a parallel move, a constitutional convention would be set up to draw up a new constitution, which would then be put to a referendum.

The official said the proposals were provisional and based upon consultation with the Iraqi people, before adding that they were motivated by a real sense of urgency.

The BBC's Richard Miron in Baghdad says there is growing frustration among Iraqis towards the coalition, as well as a sense of suspicion at its motives.

He adds that the unveiling of these new ideas may be designed to lessen the political pressure upon the US-led authorities, who have been heavily criticised for the breakdown of security and basic services within much of Iraq.

Washington has admitted that it did not anticipate the total collapse of the Iraqi administration following the fall from power of President Saddam Hussein as coalition forces entered Baghdad.

The first US administrator in Iraq, Jay Garner, was replaced in his job by Paul Bremer amid concerns about the slow pace of improvements in the daily lives of Iraqis and the ensuing resentment towards the American occupiers.

'Grenade attack'

Sunday saw another reported attack on US troops in Iraq, this time in Baghdad.

A grenade is said to have been thrown at a US armoured vehicle, whose occupants returned fire, reportedly killing two bystanders.

The Pentagon has yet to comment on the incident.

Further south, in the British-run city of Basra, Iraqis protested against a British commander being installed as the de facto leader of the city.

The committee of utility experts charged with restoring the city's infrastructure is headed by Brigadier Adrian Bradshaw, the commander of the British Seventh Brigade, the Desert Rats.

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