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Rumsfeld not consulted on new initiative on Iraq
T V Parasuram in Washington | October 09, 2003 11:42 IST
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said he was not consulted by President George W Bush on the creation of the Condoleezza Rice-led National Security Council to oversee reconstruction efforts in Iraq, but insisted, "It is not a problem".
Rumsfeld supervises the work of the administration led by L Paul Bremer and the US military commanders in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters yesterday in Colorado Springs, ahead of a NATO defence ministers meeting, he said the Pentagon had received a one-page memorandum last Friday that the National Security Council (NSC) headed by Rice, the National Security Adviser, would "do inter-agency coordination" of reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
"It need not have been," he said when asked whether the consultations on creating the NSC ought to have included him.
Rumsfeld also said that contrary to the impression in the US and abroad, the situation in Iraq is improving. "The public," he claimed, "has been fed a line of no plan and no progress, and it stands in such contrast to the facts on the ground."
He denied there was Iraqi opposition to troops from Turkey. Bremer and the US army were working with the Iraqis and coalition partners to facilitate deployment of Turkish troops in that country, he said.
"I have a strong suspicion that in whatever period of time - days, weeks, some period of time - we'll find that it all works out," Rumsfeld said.
He informed that the armed forces in Iraq now comprised troops from 32 countries other than the US. "They are not going to stay there in perpetuity. They are going to stay there for a period and then be replaced. The total number if going to depend on how successful we are in increasing the number of Iraqis (in the armed forces)," he said.