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Democracy in Iraq will take time: British Govt

Iraq will have a democratic govt, but after the fall of Saddam's regime it must initially be run by occupying coalition forces, UK govt as said.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2003 13:02 IST

Iraq will eventually have a democratic government, but after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime it must initially be run by occupying coalition forces, the British government has said.

"There will initially have to be a military occupation because that is the only legal base and practical base for running the country," foreign secretary Jack Straw told British Broadcasting Corp Television on Thursday.

But he said Britain and America would hand power over to a UN-backed Iraqi administration as soon as possible.

"What we want to see is a very, very swift transition to a situation where we set up an interim Iraqi administration and then a more permanent one which is a government of the Iraqis, for the Iraqis, by the Iraqis."

Asked if the ultimate goal was a democratic Iraq, the foreign secretary answered,"Yes, I am quite sure we will be able to achieve that. It will take some time."

Britain has urged a strong role for the United Nations in rebuilding Iraq. But US President George W Bush's administration appears less enthusiastic about giving the United Nations a major role in post-war Iraq.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted on Thursday the United States -- and not the United Nations -- must lead Iraq's post-war reconstruction.

"The coalition has to play the leading role," Powell said in Brussels, Belgium, during daylong meetings with European Union and NATO foreign ministers.

First Published: Apr 04, 2003 12:00 IST