28 May 2004 United Nations Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi respects the decision taken by the Iraqi Governing Council to name Iyad Allawi as Iraq's Prime Minister-designate, a spokesman for the world body said today in response to press questions.
Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York that Mr. Brahimi will be discussing the results of his wide-ranging consultations with the Prime Minister-designate soon. Since early May, the envoy has been meeting with a broad spectrum of Iraqis with the aim of helping them come to an agreement among themselves on the formation of an interim government that will take over on 30 June and guide the country until elections are held in January 2005.
The spokesman noted that the Governing Council will be dissolving itself very soon and that a preparatory committee will then be established to begin work on a national conference. Mr. Brahimi, who has been advising the Iraqis on these matters, expects to continue this work.
Mr. Eckhard said the national consensus the envoy has been trying to forge was not focused on the office of the Prime Minister but rather on the kind of institutions and government that are being established: the Interim Iraqi Government, the Preparatory Committee for the National Conference, the National Conference itself, as well as the Election Commission.
Asked if the way the announcement was made came as a surprise to the UN, the spokesman replied that that this was not the way it had been expected, but noted that the Iraqis seemed to agree on the candidate.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Mr. Brahimi said with numerous key bodies still to be formed, "it would not serve the interest of the process" to comment further on the announcement regarding the Prime Minister.
"Let there be no misunderstanding, however," the spokesman said. "Mr. Brahimi is perfectly comfortable with how the process is proceeding thus far."