Islamic Leaders Urge Quick Return to Iraqi Sovereignty

The world's largest Islamic organization on Friday urged a faster transition to full sovereignty for Iraq, but toned down an earlier plan to urge a greater role for the United Nations.

In their final communique at the first summit of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (search) in three years, leaders stressed the right of the Iraqi people to "determine their own political future, to have full control over its natural resources and to establish a broad-based and fully representative government."

The conference also stressed "the need to accelerate the restoration of the full sovereignty of Iraq."

Iraq -- its occupation by U.S.-led troops and the role the United Nations (search) should play in the country's near-term future -- have dominated discussions at the conference. Divisions emerged among some members and the U.S.-backed Iraq Governing Council, which attended the summit over initial objections from some countries.

Islamic Conference foreign ministers meeting earlier this week drew up a draft communique which recommended the leaders call for the U.S.-led troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible and for the United Nations to play a leading role in its recovery from the U.S.-led war this year.

The Iraqi Governing Council (search) objected, saying it preferred a situation in which Iraqis take over directly from U.S.-led forces, not from an interim U.N.-led administration.

In the end, the final communique said the establishment of the transitional Governing Council and an Iraqi Cabinet in July were "a step toward" the return of sovereignty, and that the United Nations should play a "central role" in the process.