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Bremer: Iraqis to advise coalition

Recruitment of new Iraq forces also to begin, coalition says

U.S. troops ring a Baghdad street with concertina wire after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from a car Sunday.
U.S. troops ring a Baghdad street with concertina wire after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from a car Sunday.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S.-led coalition expects to establish a representative interim administration in Iraq within five to six weeks, U.S. civil administrator Paul Bremer told reporters Monday.

It would not be a "provisional government," Bremer said, noting the U.N. Security Council's recently adopted mandate on Iraq calls for an "interim administration."

"There never was an intention to have a provisional government," Bremer said.

The interim administration Bremer described would begin with an advisory council of 25 to 30 Iraqis, selected by the coalition, that would help form policies and help administer government ministries, a senior coalition official said Sunday.

The council also would suggest Iraqi candidates for ministry positions. Those people would then work with the coalition until U.S. and British officials deemed them ready to become interim ministers, the official said.

Coalition officials last month suggested Iraqis would choose their own interim leaders in a national conference.

"We are in the process of trying to establish the best way to arrive at a fully representative interim administration," Bremer said.

"I anticipate that the pace of our discussion with various Iraqis will pick up in the course of the next couple of weeks so that we can meet our goal of trying to establish that administration in the next five or six weeks."

Bremer said the process "should be very broadly based [and] should involve broad dialogue."

Bremer said the interim administration would represent Iraq's diverse population, including Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Kurds, Turkmen and members of the small Christian population. It would include men and women, he said.

"The coalition's task is to hand this country over to a democratically elected Iraqi government as soon as we can," he said.

"Our challenge is to ensure that this government is robust enough and stands on a solid enough foundation to keep real democracy alive. The people of Iraq should not again be subjected to a repressive misrule."

Iraqis would determine how long it takes to establish a representative government by deciding the steps necessary to create a democratic country, officials said.

At a news conference Sunday, Bremer also discussed the formation of a national "community action program," which he said would help get local economies moving by hiring workers to clean up neighborhoods and build schools.

"This will inject $70 million into local economies," he said.

Iraq also needs its debts reduced so the emerging economies can focus more on growth at home, he said.

Before the end of the month, the coalition will begin hiring former members of Iraq's military to serve as part of the new Iraqi corps, Bremer said, noting the dismantling of Saddam Hussein's forces was necessary but "has caused considerable pain."

"One of the most important things we can do ... is to find ways immediately to rehire demobilized enlisted men into various tasks -- security tasks and, of course, the cleaning up of the sites which will eventually be used for training of the new Iraqi corps," he said.

"Once we open our recruiting campaign, we will welcome people who want to come and apply to be reintegrated or to be integrated into a new Iraqi corps."

CNN Baghdad Bureau Chief Jane Arraf contributed to this report.


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