PM: Iraq Will Control Its Military

Published June 06, 2004

| Associated Press

Iraq's new prime minister told the U.N. Security Council (search) his government will solely control its armed forces and coordinate joint military operations and security policy "in full partnership" with the U.S.-led multinational force, according to a letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press.

Iyad Allawi (search) sent the letter as the council held a special meeting to discuss his view of Iraq's relationship with the multinational force and that of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (search). In a letter of response, Powell pledged that the American commander of the multinational force "will work in partnership with the sovereign government of Iraq in helping to provide security."

Council members were expected to receive a new draft on Monday of the resolution endorsing the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq's new interim government on June 30 and authorizing the multinational to help provide security during Iraq's political transition.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Sunday an agreement on a new resolution could come within the next two days. Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, refused to give a date but said: "This process is coming to an end, and we notified the council late Sunday that members should be prepared to vote as early as Tuesday evening."

In his letter, Allawi said that "Iraqi armed forces will be responsible to the chief of staff and minister of defense" and a new Ministerial Committee for National Security will be established "to set the broad framework for Iraqi security policy."

The committee, which Allawi said he will chair, will invite the commander of the multinational force, known as the MNF, and other representatives to participate "as appropriate."

Allawi said he also intends to create "coordination bodies" with the force at the national, regional and local levels that will include Iraqi security forces commanders and civilian leadership.

These bodies will "ensure that Iraqi security forces will coordinate with the MNF on all security policy and operations issues in order to achieve unity of command of military operations in which Iraqi forces are engaged with MNF," he said.

In addition, he said, the multinational force and Iraqi leaders will consult regularly on their activities, "will share intelligence, and will refer issues up the respective chains of command where necessary."

Allawi said these arrangements will enable the Iraqis and the multinational force "to reach agreement on the full range of fundamental security and policy issues, including policy on sensitive offensive operations, and will ensure full partnership between Iraqi forces and the MNF, through close coordination and consultation."

Powell affirmed in his letter that the force is prepared to contribute to the maintenance of security in Iraq, with the goal of smoothing the political transition and aiding Iraq's reconstruction.

He added that "development of an effective and cooperative security partnership between the MNF and the sovereign government of Iraq is critical to the stability of Iraq."

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/06/06/pm-iraq-will-control-its-military