Wolfowitz lays out process towards Iraqi self-government

11 April 2003
US deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz on 10 April laid out to the Senate Armed Services Committee the three-stage process envisaged towards an elected and representative Iraqi government. The timing of each phase was not discussed. In the first stage, the Office for Reconstruction & Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), led by retired US general Jay Garner, will take charge. Its job, already begun in the far south, will be to oversee the provision of humanitarian aid and restore basic services. Wolfowitz emphasised that the ORHA would not act as a provisional government and that concurrent with its period of control, 'town-hall type assemblies' would be established to lay the foundations for subsequent transitions. The second stage would entail the formation of an Iraqi Interim Authority (IIA) composed of representatives of all Iraq's ethnic and religious groups. The IIA would have full legislative and executive power. 'The interim authority's most important responsibility will be to set in motion a process leading to the creation of a new Iraqi government, for example by setting up local elections or drafting a new constitution,' said Wolfowitz. In the final phase, a new Iraqi government would be elected under the terms of the constitution and would assume full control. Wolfowitz did not specify how long the US would retain a military presence in Iraq, and minimised the importance of the UN in the political process. 'It [the UN] can't be the managing partner - it can't be in charge.'

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