Rumsfeld: US forces not to withdraw from Iraq soon; Bremer: New constitution to include '\'American values'\'
The new accelerated plan for restoring self-rule in Iraq does not mean U.S. troops will withdraw anytime soon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday.
In an interview en route to a U.S. Air Force base in southern Japan, Rumsfeld said Washington is still planning to rotate a new contingent of troops into Iraq next year, with no final pull-out date set yet. Accelerating the political process will not affect military planning, he said.
"This has nothing to do with U.S. troops and coalition troops in Iraq," he said.
The plan, endorsed by the Iraqi Governing Council Saturday, reflects Washington's desire to speed up the hand over of power as attacks against American occupation forces grow more sophisticated and deadly.
"The timetable or the way ahead that the Governing Council has been describing relates to the governance aspects of the country and not to the security aspects," Rumsfeld conveyed. "That's on a separate track."
Meanwhile, America's chief administrator in Iraq said Sunday the United States would help write an interim Iraqi constitution that embodies American values and will lead to the creation of a new government.
"We will write into that constitution exactly the kinds of guarantees that were not in Saddam's constitution.," L. Paul Bremer told ABC's "This Week" from Baghdad.
"We'll have a bill of rights. We'll recognize equality for all citizens. We'll recognize an independent judiciary. We'll talk about a federal government.
"All of these things will be in the interim constitution which will also provide in a limited time, probably two years, for a permanent constitution to be written that also embodies those American values."
Bremer said Americans will work with the Iraqi Governing Council in writing the interim constitution. There will also be a side agreement dealing with security and the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, he said. (Albawaba.com)
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