Iraqi to U.N.: We Want 'Complete Sovereignty'

Iraqis will need international help with security and building democratic institutions after the United States hands over sovereignty on June 30, a member of its Governing Council says.

Nesreen Berwari (search), the minister of public works on the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council (search), said Monday that Iraqis want "complete sovereignty" on June 30 but will welcome U.S. security assistance and seek additional international help through the United Nations.

The shape of an interim government that will take power from the U.S.-led coalition is still being formulated with help from U.N. special adviser Lakhdar Brahimi (search), who is scheduled to brief the Security Council later Tuesday on his recent trip to Baghdad.

Berwari said Iraqis must take control of local and national government and make decisions on "day-to-day life," including budgets, and "how to move the country politically."

"The situation so far doesn't look positive on the readiness of the world to support Iraqi security. The only country who is committed is the United States, and we're going to take that commitment and we welcome others. We need others to take part of it, too," Berwari said.

Next month, the council is expected to debate a new U.N. resolution dealing with the Iraqi government that will take over. Already, a number of potentially contentious issues have emerged, including how much sovereignty it will have and whether it will need to authorize the U.S. force now maintaining security as well as soliciting troops to protect a returning U.N. staff.

"It's very important that the Iraqi people receive complete sovereignty," Berwari said. "What that means is decisions at local level should be done by Iraqi people. National decisions should be done by the national government. There are some issues that the Iraqi people will need support with, like security, like stabilization, and democratization."

Algeria's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Baali, the only Arab League member on the Security Council, echoed this view. "We definitely would like to see the Iraqi sovereignty restored in full and as soon as possible," he said.

But Chile's U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz said regardless of the name, "there will be limited sovereignty anyhow because this will be a government that will be chosen as part of a political agreement and not as a result of direct elections. "

Berwari said she was "very happy and positive" about the way a caretaker government was being selected, but she said Iraqis should not have too many expectations for this government.

Instead, they should focus on electing a permanent government in January, she said.

Brahimi has called for replacing the 25-member Governing Council on June 30 with a government led by a prime minister, president and two vice presidents. He suggested some council members might continue working as technocrats.

Berwari said the temporary laws adopted by the Governing Council to guide the transition need more details and shouldn't be scrapped or changed as some have suggested.

The coalition made "mistakes" a year ago in the critical area of security, including delaying giving responsibilities to Iraqis to handle security and disbanding the Iraqi army, Berwari said.

She expressed hope that the current standoffs in Fallujah and Najaf can be settled by peaceful negotiations instead of using force and one way is for the coalition to make it "an Iraqi-led process of stabilization and control on security."

Berwari, who earned a degree at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1999, is one of five Kurdish ministers on the council.