Annan said that he was pleased by a recent announcement from the US that it was looking at a plan that would hand back authority to Iraqis in about 7-8 months and give the UN a greater role in the country. ‘I am encouraged by the development – I have spoken to [UK] ambassador Greenstock, [US] Secretary of State Colin Powell and [Jalal] Talabani, who is President of the Iraqi Governing Council, and they briefed me on the plan and the desire for the UN to play an active role, particularly from the part of Mr. Talabani.’ Annan said that he was looking at candidates for the role of special representative in Iraq, which he will appoint in the near future.