Monday, June 28, 2004

# Posted 8:07 AM by Patrick Belton  

IRAQ A SOVEREIGN COUNTRY, AS OF THIS MORNING: In a surprise move aimed at disrupting terrorist attacks timed around the formal handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi government, the United States and United Kingdom transferred sovereignty this morning to the Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Allawi. Joe Gandelman takes an exhaustive look:
The U.S.-led coalition transferred sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government Monday, speeding up the move by two days in an apparent bid to surprise insurgents who may have tried to sabotage the step toward self rule.

Legal documents handing over sovereignty were handed over by U.S. governor L. Paul Bremer to interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in a ceremony in the heavily guarded Green Zone. (from AP)
And from an announcement this morning by FM Zebari:
Mr Zebari said the deteriorating security situation in the country was one of the reasons why the date had been brought forward.

"We will challenge these elements in Iraq, the anti-democratic elements, by even bringing the handover of sovereignty before June 30 as a sign we are ready for it," he said.

He added: "We have made some very good progress in terms of the new security council (in Iraq) and the return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people to take away the level of occupation we have suffered a great deal from.

"There are many Iraqis who are standing up to the challenge. We are here to seek more help and assistance, training and equipment."

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