WaPo: Bremer to Return to U.S. for Consultations

L. Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator of Iraq, is returning to Washington for discussions Friday with President Bush’s top foreign policy advisers about a possible United Nations role in Iraq’s six-month transition to self-rule, U.S. officials said.

The talks Friday and during the weekend come in advance of a critical meeting Monday at U.N. headquarters in New York on Iraq’s political transition. Bremer will accompany a delegation from the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to the meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. They will press for the United Nations to return to Iraq and help the country establish a new provisional government, according to the officials.

Adnan Pachachi, the current president of the Iraqi Governing Council, who will head the Iraqi delegation to the United Nations, acknowledged today that the council’s two-month-old plan to form the new provisional government has faced considerable opposition from Iraqis seeking to hold direct elections to election representatives, rather than the planned regional caucuses.

“I am not denying that there are a few differences in points of view in regards to the selection process of the members of the Transitional National Assembly,” Pachachi said at a Baghdad news conference. “The differences are not related to the principles but the details,” he added.

Pachachi said, “We all agree that the best way to select the National Assembly is direct general elections,” but he questioned whether it was possible to hold elections in time to create the new government by the June 30 deadline set by the council and the occupation authority.

Doesn’t the State Department have telephones? It seems like Bremer is in DC more than he’s in Baghdad. And, frankly, I’m not sure what it is that the U.N. would do between now and June 30 that couldn’t more easily be done by the team that’s already in place. Granted, Kofi Annan is from Ghana, where they have a long and distinguished history of democratic governance, and heads the U.N., which consists entirely of modern countries with excellent human rights records. But still.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.