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  US helps plan Iraq's future
Updated 15 April 2003, 21.10
Iraqis ask Americans outside the meeting what's going on
An important meeting to try and start putting together a new government for Iraq has taken place.

Various groups who want a say in how the country is run met near the southern city of Nasiriya on Tuesday to work out what needs to be done.

Groups opposed to Saddam Hussein who were exiled, and local tribal and religious leaders were there, alongside US and British representatives.

It was decided that they'd meet again in 10 days.

Jay Garner is in charge of running Iraq until a temporary government is set up
Former US general Jay Garner

A former American general, Jay Garner, chaired the meeting. He's in charge of running Iraq until a short-term government can be set up.

The Americans say their final goal is to help set up a democratic government run by Iraqis.

But getting all the different groups of people at the meeting to agree on a future government could be really tough.

An important group - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) - refused to go to the meeting.

They don't trust the US and think it's going to try and put in place a government that will be pro-American.

Anti-American protests

The group is made up of Shia Muslims, who are the biggest group of people in the Iraqi population.

Protests in Baghdad against American control of Iraq
Protest in Baghdad against President Bush

Thousands of Shia demonstrated near the meeting, shouting "No to America, No to Saddam".

Many of the other groups in Iraq are also nervous about the Americans' intentions.

Some other countries around the world want the United Nations to take over sorting out a new Iraqi government.

Other main points

  • There were also demonstrations in Baghdad about the breakdown of law and order. But there are signs the looting is stopping.
  • US troops in Baghdad are distributing leaflets asking people to return to work and stay at home at night.
  • Arab countries join the EU and Russia in criticising the US for threatening Syria over the war in Iraq.


Watch/ListenBORDER=0
Marissa HoldenMarissa Holden
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WorldDaily Iraq updates
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War 'coming to close' after key town taken
US troops enter Saddam's home town
Iraqis demand end to violence and looting
Kurdish forces start to leave Kirkuk

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