New Iraqi president and cabinet appointed

The current head of Iraq's Governing Council, Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar, will be President of the interim government that will take over from the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) at the end of the month, it has been announced today.

UN Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi also revealed today that former Foreign Minister Adnan Pachachi was also offered a post but he declined for personal reasons.

He also announced the appointment of Ibrahim Jaafari and Rowsch Shaways as deputy presidents.

Mr Brahimi said he had given his recommendations for the composition of the Cabinet to Prime Minister Designate Ayad Allawi, who was named on Friday. Mr Allawi is expected to announce those later today.

The Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has welcomed the appointments of the new heads of the Iraqi governing council.

Mr Straw "warmly congratulated" Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar and Dr Iyad Allawi.

He said: "These appointments, which have now been enhanced by the announcement of Dr Allawi's cabinet, reflect another significant step forward for the Iraqi people in rebuilding their country after the ravages of Saddam's regime.

"Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN Special Representative for Iraq consulted widely before making these appointments. I would like to express my appreciation and admiration for Ambassador Brahimi's indefatigable work, and for that of his staff.

"I hope that the international community will give an early signal of its strong support for the new leadership of Iraq in their crucial task of guiding their country along the pathway to peace and prosperity."

Mr Brahimi has been in the country since early May meeting with a broad spectrum of Iraqis to help them agree on the administration that will inherit sovereignty on 30 June and guide the country until elections are held in January 2005.


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