The United Nations will have an important role to play in post-war Iraq, supervising humanitarian aid and installing the interim civilian authority there, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Friday.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Powell also said it was time for a reconciliation between the US and European countries like France that opposed the war, and he denied there was a blacklist of companies that would be barred from post-war reconstruction contracts.
"We wish to transfer responsibility for the country from the military command to a civil administration so that Iraqi ministries can begin to function without Baath party officials and Saddam's regime," Powell said. "The transfer to civilian authorities will be carried out in accordance with appropriate resolutions from the Security Council," he said.
"The United Nations will certainly have a role to play concerning humanitarian aid and reconstruction, as well as installing the civilian authority," Powell said.
Powell said a new administration would have to include Iraqi opposition figures from inside Iraq "so that Iraq is not governed solely by personalities from outside."
Asked about tensions with France, which reached crisis point after Paris blocked all chance of UN sanction for the US-led invasion, Powell said, "We argued, we disagreed, we got angry. But we never broke our friendship... We have the impression it is time to make up."
On post-war reconstruction, Powell said there was no "blacklist of companies who would be kept out of contracts."
"We want the attribution of contracts to be very transparent, notably within the framework of the UN programme for development," he said.