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Iraq: US transfers sovereignty to locals
June 28, 2004 11:43 IST
Last Updated: June 28, 2004 13:36 IST
In a surprise move, the US on Monday handed over sovereignty of Iraq to local leaders two days ahead of schedule, BBC reported.
It is believed that the move was meant to prevent militants from disrupting the handover ceremony, which was supposed to take place on June 30.
The news about the handover first emerged before a NATO meet in Istanbul, Turkey where Iraq's foreign minister was also present.
The American governor of Iraq, Paul Bremer, the president and interim prime minister appointed by the US and some other officials were present at the ceremony where the actual act of the transfer of power took place. Bremer handed over some legal documents to the Iraqi leaders to mark the event.
The Americans, who invaded Iraq in March 2003, had on June 1, 2004 appointed an interim prime minister to run the country. Iyad Allawi and his team had begun sharing the responsibility of running the day-to-day affairs of the country since then. On June 24, the US handed over all the government departments to the interim administration.
Among other things, Allawi will prepare the country for elections in early 2005.
Bremer was scheduled to leave the country soon after handing over full charge to Allawi. He had been on a series of farewell visits to areas throughout the country over the past few days.