The United Nations' special envoy for Iraq says it will be possible to form a new government in Baghdad by June 30th -- the deadline set for the United States to restore Iraq's sovereignty -- but that the task will not be easy.
UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi says the interim administration that takes office in Iraq after the end of June will have limited powers.
Mr. Brahimi was in Paris Saturday for talks with French President Jacques Chirac (and other officials). He said he expects the interim government in Baghdad to convene a national conference in July that will elect a consultative assembly, as a key preparation for nationwide elections in Iraq early next year.
The U.N. envoy says he agrees with U.S. officials that the new Iraqi government should exclude most (of the 25) members of the present Iraqi Governing Council -- all of whom were originally chosen by the United States.
Mr. Brahimi reportedly feels there is little public support in Iraq for the current council members -- including Ahmed Chalabi, a former exile who was strongly supported by the United States until recently. The UN envoy is said to be planning to dissolve the Governing Council on June 30th, with none of its members included in the interim government.
Details of Mr. Brahimi's plans for Iraq await confirmation by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.