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Bush, Blair Back UN Power Transfer Plan for Iraq - 2004-04-17


President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair say they support a United Nations plan to transfer political power in Iraq.

After the two leaders met at the White House today (Friday), Mr. Bush said that he backed the plan being drawn up by U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The proposal calls for installing a caretaker government in Iraq by July 1st -- and in the process dissolving the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

The interim government, chosen by the United Nations, would rule until elections were held in January 2005.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan this week said he saw little chance the world body could resume a major role in Iraq because of the security situation there.

At the United Nations today (Friday) Washington's U.N. envoy, John Negroponte, asked the Security Council for support in creating a military protection force for U.N. personnel in Iraq.

U.S.-led coalition troops would remain in Iraq for security concerns.

Mr. Blair hailed the plan as chance to advance a free and secure Iraq. Mr. Bush said Mr. Brahimi's plan allows an interim government to be established that is broadly acceptable to the Iraqi people.

President Bush has repeatedly said he will stick to a deadline of June 30th to hand over power in Iraq. The president maintains that Iraq's government should be under the power of Iraqis.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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