Iraqi government given power to send home troops
Iraq's new leaders could be given the right to send home foreign troops under new proposals from the US and Britain, it was announced yesterday.
The proposals were set out in amendments to the draft resolution giving international endorsement to the Iraqi interim government.Previously only a transitional government, expected to be elected by 31 January 2005, would have had the right to ask troops to leave, providing the 15-nation Security Council approved.
However, there is little chance the Iraqi interim government would ask for a withdrawal, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshiyar Zebari.
Iyad Allawi, Iraq's new Prime Minister, last night expressed support for the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil as a security guarantee, as the UN accused coalition troops of "serious violations" of human rights. In his first televised address since his controversial appointment last week, Mr Allawi called for an end to attacks on the coalition, which is to hand over to the interim government at the end of the month. "The targeting of the multinational forces under the leadership of the United States to force them to leave Iraq would inflict a major disaster on Iraq," Mr Allawi said.
The Americans yesterday recorded the death of the 600th US soldier to be killed in combat in Iraq.
Meanwhile the UN has issued a critical report suggesting that some cases of prison abuse by occupying forces may constitute "war crimes" and called for the appointment of an "international ombudsman" to monitor the human rights situation for as long as the coalition troops remain in Iraq.The UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, is to brief the 15 council members today. Britain hopes the resolution can be adopted next week.