Chalabi calls for quicker progress on new government in Iraq

10 April 2003
As Baghdad fell to American forces, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ahmed Chalabi, on 9 April called on the US to accelerate the process of forming an interim administration. Speaking in a CNN interview, Chalabi warned that lack of infrastructure and an absence of law and order could allow forces loyal to Saddam Hussein to retain influence. 'The US troops have defeated Saddam militarily -the issue is the Baath party and the remnants -who will continue to pose a threat,' he said. 'Those people will continue to have some influence as long as there is no electricity, no security, no water.' Chalabi, whom the Pentagon favours for a leading role in post-war Iraq, urged the US Office for Reconstruction & Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) to begin taking over civilian administration. 'Where is General Garner [head of the ORHA] now?' he questioned. The ORHA the previous day moved into the southern port of Umm Qasr, saying that it would concentrate on the provision of schools, jobs, healthcare services and running water.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan reacted to events in Baghdad by saying that all possible will be done to send in urgently needed medical supplies. 'We are trying to do whatever we can with the World Health Organisation, Red Cross and our own humanitarian people to see how we can get medication in as soon as possible,' he told reporters in New York. 'But as far as the actual situation in Baghdad is concerned, it is too early to comment to determine who is in charge, who is going to run the city, and what has happened to the government.'

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