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Iraq: Governing Council Chairman Says He Will Work To End 'Occupation'

Cairo, 1 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The new head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Ibrahim Jafari, says that he will work to end the occupation of his country and set the foundations of a democratic government. In remarks today to Egypt's Sawt al-Arab radio, Jafari called on Arabs to participate in rebuilding Iraq and to wipe out traces of the former regime.

Jafari said that deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime was "the source of all the tragedies that struck the Iraqi people." He also said that he will do everything possible to end the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

The U.S.-sponsored 25-member Governing Council named Jafari yesterday as its first chairman in the nine-man rotation. The council is a transitional body that is to pave the way for elections.

Also today, Al-Jazeera satellite television broadcast what it says is a new message from Hussein. In the audiotape, the speaker -- purported to be the former Iraqi president -- calls on Iraqis to safeguard state property until "things return to normal."