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Brahimi Leaves Iraq - Talks Continue On Resolution

Brahimi Leaves Iraq As Security Council Talks Continue On New Resolution

With Iraqis having named an interim government to inherit sovereignty from the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) at the end of June, United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi departed the country today as talks continued in New York on a new Security Council resolution on the future course of action.

"Our mission has been accomplished," Mr. Brahimi told reporters in Baghdad, noting that both the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council had requested UN support for the political transition.

At the same time, he pointed out that the process is ongoing as the groundwork is being laid to hold general elections in January 2005. As part of the preparations, work continues on plans for a national meeting planned for the first week of July.

[A UN spokesman in New York announced today that after a country-wide process of nomination, Iraq's autonomous and non-partisan Independent Electoral Commission has been established.]

Mr. Brahimi said the interim administration "is the best that we can reach right now" and lauded its spectrum of members. "I also believe that they respond to a large extent, not 100 percent, but to a large extent, to what we said that we have heard from the Iraqi people: that the Iraqis want a government composed from experienced and honest people that are not related in a narrow meaning to their political parties."

"Shall this satisfy all the Iraqis? Of course not. But we believe that a lot of Iraqis, if not all of them, shall find within this government members who not necessarily represent them but are close to them," he said, appealing to the Iraqi people to "give this government a chance."

Following his press conference, Mr. Brahimi headed back to New York, where he is expected to arrive over the weekend. He will brief the Secretary-General as well as the Security Council, which continues closed-door talks on the new resolution.

On Tuesday evening, Council members consulted for three hours on the draft. Tomorrow, the Council is expected to meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari.

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