Maher: Arab states can't recognize legitimacy of Interim Iraqi Council; New team formed to draft constitution
Arab countries cannot recognize the legitimacy of the US-appointed Interim Governing Council in Iraq, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher has said.
Maher's comments followed a meeting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo with his Saudi and Syrian counterparts, Saud al-Faisal and Faruq al-Shara, respectively.
However, Maher said Arab states remained prepared to meet members of the council on the same basis as they would meet members of any Iraqi political group.
Earlier, after meeting the US Assistant Secretary of State, William Burns, Maher restated that Cairo would like to see the UN play an active role in Iraq.
"Whether we recognize this council or not depends on lots of things, including the powers it will have, the nature of its relations with the occupying forces and the role of the United Nations," he said.
Meanhile, in perhaps one of its first major decisions, Iraq's interim government appointed a 25-member team Monday to draw up a procedure to produce a new constitution, the New York Times reported.
Ibrahim Jafari, president of the Iraqi Governing Council, told reporters that the committee would not write the constitution itself, but rather devise the mechanism by which it would be drafted.
"The task of the constitutional committee is to move with all segments of society to decide on the best mechanism for writing the draft of the constitution," Jafari said.
The committee consists of lawyers, professors, intellectuals and a member of the Hawza, the prestigious religious school that Iraq's 60 percent Shiite majority looks to for guidance, said Jafari.
In Washington, meanwhile, the BBC reported that according to diplomats, the US was pushing for a UN vote this week on a draft resolution backing the IGC and authorizing the UN assistance mission in Iraq.
A vote is expected by mid-week, diplomats said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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