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Home > News > PTI

Powell modifies assurance on Iraq sovereignty

May 26, 2004 09:44 IST

Within hours after US President George W Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell assured the world that Iraq will regain full sovereignty at the end of June, Powell modified that assurance by saying that US troops who will remain in Iraq will 'do what is necessary to protect themselves'.

He made it clear that the troops would carry out their mission by doing 'what is necessary' even if that might not be in 'total consonance' with what the Iraqi government wants.

Powell was answering a question, at a joint appearance at the State Department with Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, on Prime Minister Tony Blair's categorical statement that the new Iraqi government after June 30 would have veto power over the individual military operations of the coalition force there.

"The actual details of how the forces will work together are being worked out now. We are confident that this will be manageable. We want to take into account the views of the Iraqi interim government. They are sovereign.  And so, they have a role to play, obviously. They are sovereign. We are there at their consent and with their consent," he said.

"And if you look at the UN resolution that was proposed yesterday, there is language in, I think it is the tenth preambulatory paragraph that specifically talks about the consent of the Iraqi interim government."

"So," Powell said, "we would take into account whatever they might say at a political and military level. And to make sure that that happens, we will be creating coordinating bodies, political coordinating bodies and military-to-military coordinating bodies, so that there is transparency with respect to what we are doing."

"Now, obviously, however, if it comes down to the United States Armed Forces protecting themselves or in some way accomplishing their mission in a way that might not be in total consonance with what the Iraqi interim government might want to do at a particular moment in there. US forces remain in under US command and will do what is necessary to protect themselves," he added.

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