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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 June, 2004, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
UN urges full power shift in Iraq
The United Nations envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi
Brahimi called on the US to completely transfer power
The United Nations envoy to Iraq says the US will have to change its behaviour if a shift to sovereignty is to have any meaning.

Lakhdar Brahimi told the BBC that complete power must be handed over from the US to the interim government.

Until now the US administrator rather than the US-appointed Iraqi governing council had held control, he said.

His comments follow a revised version of a Security Council resolution on Iraq from the US and Britain.

New draft

The new draft states clearly that the US-led multi-national force will leave if asked to by the Iraqi government.

Mr Brahimi said further talks on the role and command of troops was needed.

"There is a need for a detailed discussion about what they are going to do, how these troops are going to behave, what is the chain of responsibility," he told Radio 4's Today programme.

DRAFT RESOLUTION ON IRAQ
Maps out the handover to a sovereign Iraqi government by 30 June
Provides for a US-led multinational force, with authority to take all necessary measures for security, while setting a date for the end of its mandate
Grants Iraq full control over its own natural resources while temporarily maintaining international control over its oil revenue fund

Mr Brahimi also said sorry for calling Paul Bremer the dictator of Iraq earlier this week - it had been a tongue-in-cheek remark, he said.

Iraq's new Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari echoed Mr Brahimi, telling the BBC that a sovereign government must have the power to influence any foreign military presence.

He had made his concerns clear when he addressed the Security Council on Thursday.

The new draft Security Council resolution reflects Mr Zebari's comments and allows the interim administration to ask US-led troops to leave, not just the government set to be elected next year.

Securing sovereignty

It also stresses that the government will assume full responsibility.

"Now we need these multi-national forces to stay, it is an Iraqi need rather than a British or American one," Mr Zebari told the BBC.

"But if you have a sovereign government you must decide, especially if these forces are staying there with your consent, at your invitation," he added.

Once Iraq had assumed full responsibility for security and developed its own army there would no longer be a need for British and American troops, he said.

Iraqi forces, under Iraqi control, would work in tandem with the multi-national force command to fight terrorism, stabilise the situation and confront security threats, he said.

Reservations

Some Council members, including France, China and Russia, had expressed reservations about two earlier drafts of the Resolution.

But the BBC's Susannah Price at UN headquarters says it would be highly unlikely for the Iraqis to ask the foreign troops to leave in the near future.

On Friday interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi praised the US-led forces.

He said they would continue to guarantee security after the sovereignty transfer on 30 June.

However it has not changed the wording about the relationship between the new government and the multinational force - despite calls from France and other members to give Iraq a veto over military operations.

'Consensus'

No date has been set for adoption of the resolution.

However US officials have expressed confidence that only minor adjustments will be needed to secure approval in the council.

"We are making good progress," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.

"I think we are moving toward a consensus."

The new draft was issued as George Bush announced his choice as the new US ambassador to the UN.

He is John Danforth, a Republican former senator who has served as US envoy to Sudan.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr Danforth would succeed John Negroponte, who has been chosen as ambassador to Iraq.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Lakhdar Brahimi, UN representative in Iraq
"This is a government formed in very complicated and delicate circumstances"



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