Iraqi interim authority as soon as possible after war: Britain
LONDON (AFP) Apr 03, 2003
Britain wants an Iraqi interim authority to rule in Baghdad as soon as possible after the war has finished, Foreign Office junior minister Mike
O'Brien said Wednesday, dismissing fears of US colonialism.
General Jay Garner has been appointed by the Pentagon to undertake the administration of Iraq immediately after the current conflict ends and before
an Iraqi interim authority takes over.
"We want to set up an Iraqi interim authority whose job it will then be to take over from Jay Garner to run Iraq as quickly as we can enable that to
happen," O'Brien told BBC's Newsnight programme.
"I don't think the UN wants to run a country, nor indeed does the United States. The idea that there's some kind of colonial game being played here
-- those times have gone," he said.
"The United States would be silly to think it could run indefinitely a country in the Middle East and it isn't going to do that. We certainly
wouldn't support them doing that and we have no intention of being involved in that either," he said.
Washington and London are seeking to help establish the basic administrative structure, security and law and order immediately after Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein has gone, O'Brien said.
The Foreign Office minister said he hoped that after security had been established, Garner would work with a UN special commissioner on the
reconstruction and humanitarian relief process.
"After that, we want to establish a conference, agree a constitution, have elections and then have a proper Iraqi government," he said.
Asked if the 90-day period which has been suggested as the length Garner would be in charge had been agreed between London and Washington, O'Brien
"To pin it down to say it's only going to be 90 days is wrong, it could be a shorter period than that, it could be a slightly longer period than
that. It depends on precisely what the circumstances are."
"We can't be precise about it until we know the circumstances that exist after Saddam has gone," he said.
Observers have raised fears that the United States may involve itself over the long haul in the administration and governance of a post-war Iraq. To
that end, US Secretary of State Colin Powell was due to discuss a UN role in Iraq at meetings with EU and NATO officials in Brussels on Thursday.