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Iraq: Powell Says U.S. Seeking International Participation

Washington, 3 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said today the United States is seeking a wider international participation for stabilizing Iraq. Powell told a news conference in Washington today that the U.S. is circulating a resolution at the United Nations that would encourage countries to contribute troops and money in Iraq. He said that under the proposal the multinational force would be commanded by an U.S. general.

Powell said the United Nations has great skills in nation-building efforts. In response to a question, he said the U.S. move was not motivated by the steady loss of U.S. troops in Iraq.

The United States has 140,000 forces in Iraq. Other major coalition partners include Britain and Poland.

Earlier today, most of the newly appointed Iraqi cabinet appointees took the oath of office in front of the current president of Iraq's interim Governing Council, Ahmad Chalabi.

The council named the 25-member cabinet on 1 September, apportioning the ministerial positions among the country's various communities -- 13 to Shi'a Muslims, five each to Sunnis and Kurds, and one seat each is held by a Turkoman and an Assyrian Christian.

The cabinet reports to the council, which remains under the authority of the U.S. chief administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer.