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Arab League Recognizes Iraq Governing Body

September 09, 2003|From Associated Press

CAIRO — The Arab League early today granted the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council a seat on the 22-member pan-Arab organization -- despite fears that such recognition could be seen as a sign of support for the American-led invasion of Iraq.

With its decision, the league officially recognized the council -- appointed July 13 after U.S. forces deposed Saddam Hussein -- as an authority able to represent Iraq on the regional stage.

Torn for weeks over whether to recognize Iraq's U.S.-appointed leaders, Arab League foreign ministers issued a communique after six hours of debate saying the council had been granted Iraq's seat until a legitimate Iraqi government could be formed and a new constitution drawn up.

The decision paved the way for Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, an ethnic Kurdish leader appointed as part of the council's first Cabinet, to sit alongside other Arab envoys at a two-day conference that began today.

The Arab League opposed the war in Iraq, and the Iraqi seat in the regional body had been vacant.

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