Published February 03, 2004
WASHINGTON – The United Nations will send a team to Iraq to help its political transition in anticipation of the turnover of power there June 30, Secretary General Kofi Annan (search) told President Bush on Tuesday.
The two men met in the Oval Office, where Bush said, "I'm upbeat and optimistic about the future of the world." He said the United Nations (search) has a vital role in Iraq.
Annan said the U.N. team would work with the Iraqis "in finding the way forward" and would talk to as many Iraqis as possible to "steer things in the right direction."
"I believe that the stability in Iraq is in everyone's interest. The U.N. does have a role to play," Annan said.
He noted that there are differences in Iraq about how to establish a provisional government, and said the U.N. team would try to help resolve those issues.
Bush said the United States was still committed to the June 30 deadline for turning over power.
"We've discussed ways to make sure that by working together, the Iraqi people can be free and the country stable and prosperous and an example of democracy in the Middle East. And the United Nations does have a vital role there," the president said.
Annan said the U.S.-led occupation authority and the Iraqi Governing Council (search) have indicated they would accept the conditions under which the U.N. team would work. "So we do have a chance to help break the impasse which exists at the moment and move forward," he said.