Allies clash over Iraq interim powers

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America’s United Nations Ambassador John Negroponte, who will become US Ambassador to Iraq on July 1, said yesterday that the interim government would have limited powers.

It would not control security and would not be able to make new laws, he said.

The US says it needs to keep control over security because the newly trained Iraqi forces will not be ready for the job and US-led forces must be able to operate freely to try to tackle the insurgency.

Washington is currently drafting a United Nations resolution to define the interim administration.

The interim government would be in place until elections in January 2005. Mr Brahimi warned the path towards the elections would be full of “dangerous pitfalls and massive obstacles at every step of the way”.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein received his second visit from the Red Cross yesterday, the day before his 67th birthday.