Iraqi, American and U.N. officials are deadlocked over who should be president
in the interim Iraqi government that will take over the country June 30. Meanwhile,
continuing violence claims more lives in Iraq, as President Bush honors American
The latest political stand-off in Iraq involves the Iraqi Governing Council
on one side. U.S. and U.N. officials are on the other side.
Paul Bremer, head of the U.S.-led coalition administration, and Lakhdar Brahimi,
U.N. envoy to Iraq, are said to favor Adnan Pachachi, who supports keeping
foreign troops in Iraq until the security situation improves.
The council's choice is Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar, who has been more critical
of the U.S.-led occupation.
A Kurdish member of the Governing Council, Mahmoud Othman, accused the United
States and the United Nations of interfering in the process of choosing Iraqi
leaders. "Nobody has the right to make a government for Iraq, neither America
nor Brahimi. We know how to make our own government," he said.
A meeting set for Monday to determine Iraq's president was postponed without
explanation. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor rejected suggestions that the U.S.-led
administration is trying to tell the Iraqi council what to do.
"We are certainly not in the position to control their schedule, when they
meet and when they don't meet. So, Ambassador Bremer didn't call their meetings.
Ambassador Bremer doesn't cancel their meetings," he said.
Mr. Senor also indicated that U.N. envoy Mr. Brahimi was responsible for
naming the candidates in the interim Iraqi government. "I really would defer
to Mr. Brahimi, who has indicated that in the days ahead, he will be in a position
to make a formal announcement," he said.
Meanwhile, the violence in Iraq continues. A car bomb killed at least four
people, mostly pedestrians, on a busy Baghdad roadway.
U.S. military spokesman General Mark Kimmitt says two U.S. soldiers who were
killed in separate clashes outside of the southern Iraqi city of Kufa Monday
were not the aggressors.
"These units were going through the town of Kufa, ensuring a safe and secure
environment," he said. "They were not conducting specific offensive operations,
targeting a certain objective, targeting a certain leader, targeting a certain
person. So, no, they were just conducting reconnaissance at these two locations."
Fighting has continued in southern Iraq despite a cease-fire agreement last
Back in Washington, President Bush honored the American war dead on Memorial
Day. Mr. Bush praised U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as part
of the global war on terror that was launched following the September 11 terrorist
attacks on the United States.
"Since the hour this nation was attacked, we have seen the character of the
men and women who wear this country's uniform, in places like Kabul and Kandahar,
in Mosul and Baghdad. We have seen their decency and their brave spirit. Because
of their fierce courage, America is safer," he said.
The president said the United States will always honor and remember those
who lost their lives in war, whether long ago or recently.