Bremer visits northern Iraq, says no plans to delay in transitional government
The top U.S. official in Iraq went north Sunday, meeting with an American-installed city council in the city of Mosul.
In Baghdad, where U.S. efforts to restore security have encountered obstacles and complaints, the military said its efforts to put Iraqi police back on the streets were working: A survey of the capital's 43 police stations by the Coalition Joint Task Force found 86 percent of the 8,200-strong prewar police force was back on the job, AP reported.
L. Paul Bremer met Sunday behind closed doors with Mosul's council. That body was installed earlier this month by Mosul political figures under U.S. supervision and billed as northern Iraq's first step toward democratic self-rule.
Bremer also received a briefing from Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. The two took a helicopter tour of the area with John Sawers, Britain's top civilian representative in Iraq, visiting one of Saddam Hussein's palaces and the local headquarters of the 101st.
Bremer said that Washington had no plans to suspend the transition to an Iraqi interim authority planned for the next few weeks.
"I've read a report in the American press about a delay (in the transitional government). I don't know where these stories are coming from because we haven't delayed anything," Bremer told reporters during his visit to Mosul.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Bremer and British officials told Iraqi political leaders at a meeting on Friday they had delayed indefinitely a plan to allow Iraqis to form a national assembly and interim government by the end of the month.
Bremer said he had a "productive meeting" with Iraqi leaders on Friday. "We have committed to meet within the next two weeks again with those Iraqi leaders and others as we move, I think, rather quickly in this transitional phase," he said. (Albawaba.com)
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