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Bremer: US Open to Ideas on Iraq Handover - 2004-02-16


The U.S. administrator in Iraq says the United States is ready to consider alternatives to its plans for transferring power in Iraq, but remains committed to a June 30th target date for the turnover.

Paul Bremer says U.S. officials are awaiting recommendations from the United Nations, which could come later this week. He says there are dozens of ideas to consider, including partial elections, a modified caucus plan or some type of national conference.

Mr. Bremer insists there is not enough time to hold national elections before June 30th, as leaders of Iraq's Shi'ite majority have demanded. However, he says elections planned for next year could be moved up by several months.

U.S. military officials in Iraq say an American soldier was killed and another wounded this (Monday) morning in Baghdad. The victim was in a convoy hit by a roadside bomb.

In another development, Iraq's foreign minister (Hoshiyar Zebari) says his nation will ask the United States to hand over ousted leader Saddam Hussein for trial after an Iraqi administration takes power in Baghdad.

The minister says Saddam should not be treated as a prisoner of war. Many Iraqis want Saddam to be tried for genocide and for other crimes against humanity.

US. military officials say four American civilians were shot during an ambush last week, and one of the victims died. The four Americans, members of a religious group, were attacked while traveling by taxi from the ancient city of Babylon to Baghdad. U.S. forces found the group Saturday at a hospital south of the capital.

A similar attack in the same area three weeks ago killed two employees from the CNN television network.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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