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Sovereignty Handed to Iraqi Government Ahead of Schedule - 2004-06-28


The U.S. led coalition in Iraq has formally handed over power to an interim Iraqi government -- a transfer of sovereignty that had been scheduled to take place on July 1st.

The interim government was formally sworn in today (Monday) ahead of schedule in an apparent bid to foil insurgent attacks designed to prevent the handover.

Earlier Monday, the outgoing U.S. administrator for Iraq Paul Bremer handed over legal documents officially transferring sovereignty during a ceremony in Baghdad that was attended by Iraq's interim president and prime minister.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi declared it a historic day for Iraq and said he requested the early transfer of power because Iraqis need to control their destiny as soon as possible.

Mr. Bremer left the country hours after the handover ceremony.

A Bush administration official welcomed the early transfer of power and said Mr. Allawi believes it will strengthen his hand in dealing with insurgents.

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

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