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Iraq's PM Announces 9 Militias Agree to Disband - 2004-06-07


Iraq's interim prime minister says nine militias of the major political parties have agreed to disband.

A statement today (Monday) from Iyad Allawi in Baghdad said militia members would join Iraq's security forces or re-enter civilian life.

However, the deal does not include the Mehdi Army militia of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in southern Iraq.

In the Shi'ite city of Kufa today, an explosion at a weapons cache at the Kufa mosque killed one person and wounded at least eight others. The U.S. military says it was not operating in the area at the time, but some Iraqis accused American forces of causing the explosion.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says a revised resolution on the transfer of power in Iraq will be introduced at the UN Security Council today, with the expectation the Council will vote on it Tuesday.

Ambassador John Negroponte says the revised resolution will include a series of letters spelling out the relationship between the Baghdad government and the U.S. - led multi-national force in Iraq.

However, Russia said today it still has reservations about the resolution, and France is seeking an amendment requiring Iraqi government approval of any sensitive military operations by U.S. - led forces.

Russia and France have veto power in the Security Council.

The United States and Britain have jointly prepared a resolution giving the new Iraqi government international support and authorizing the multi-national military force in the country to conduct security patrols.

The United Nations' special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, is to brief the 15-member Security Council today. He helped assemble Iraq's interim government.

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

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