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AFTER THE WAR

Group Meets With U.S. Officials in Iraq

May 02, 2003|From Reuters

BAGHDAD — A representative from the Iran-based Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said Thursday that a senior official of the party, Abdelaziz Hakim, had met with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. postwar administrator Jay Garner at the party's new Baghdad offices.

"They discussed three things: security, restoring public services and setting up an interim government," Mohsen Hakim said.

It was unclear whether the reported talks were linked to continuing discussions among Iraqis about setting up a national conference to choose a provisional government. Khalilzad also talked to Iraqis about that conference, an Iraqi spokesman said.

"The result of the meeting was that the United States endorsed the idea of a provisional government for Iraq that will be formed at a national conference to be held in four weeks' time," said Zaab Sethna, an aide to Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi.

"Delegates from all over the country will come together and elect a provisional government," he said. The method for picking delegates has yet to be decided.

Sethna said the aim was to hold the conference before June 3, when, he said, the U.N. "oil-for-food" program runs out. The program seeks to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis under sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The latter meeting with Khalilzad included Chalabi, Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan head Jalal Talabani, Iraqi National Accord chief Iyad Allawi and the Iran-based group's Abdel- aziz Hakim.

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