» Tuesday, June 1, 2004


Questioned about the process of appointing members of the Interim Iraqi Government, the PMOS said that the UN’s special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, had put out a statement this morning naming the President, two Vice-Presidents and the Prime Minister. We welcomed those appointments which were the result of a process in which Mr Brahimi had consulted widely throughout Iraq. Despite the all-too-visible difficulties in Iraq recently, today was significant inasmuch as the Iraq people would see the confirmation of what would be the most representative Government they had ever had – a Government not dominated by one individual or group, but by representatives of the country as a whole. This was a Government which would lead Iraq from occupation to independence, and then to democracy in January 2005. That was an achievement which should not be under-estimated in any way, despite the attempts of the terrorists to drown it out. Put to him that the proceedings this morning had been somewhat ‘chaotic’, the PMOS said no one was pretending that this was not a bumpy road. However, it was a road which was leading in one direction – towards democracy. That was politics. It was important for people to recognise that this would be the first time that Iraq would have a true representative Government. In the past, Iraqi politics had led to people like the incoming Prime Minister being targeted by Saddam Hussein. Not any more. Yes, the road was bumpy, but that was the price of politics.

Put to him that Adnan Pachachi’s initial appointment as President, prior to his decision to decline the job, undermined the US’s claim to support true ‘Iraqi-isation’ in the light of its clear desire to see Mr Pachachi in the post, the PMOS said that he would disagree with the premise of the question. The important point was that the appointments had been made following a consultation process with hundreds of Iraqis which had been undertaken by Mr Brahimi and in which a consensus had clearly emerged. The process had worked inasmuch as it had produced a multi-ethnic representative Government, the first ever in Iraq. Put to him that Paul Bremer had said that he would veto the Iraqi Governing Council’s choice of President, the PMOS said the important thing was the end result. He suggested that journalists might want to rethink their strategy. Either this was a ‘stooge’ government or it wasn’t one that the Coalition wanted. They couldn’t have it both ways. Preferably they would recognise that the reality of the situation was that this was a representative Government which had emerged following wide consultation and the emergence of a consensus facilitated by the UN and its special representative.

Asked if the Prime Minister was planning to go to the UN, the PMOS said that he had nothing further to add to what he had already said many times in the last two weeks about this matter.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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