Iraqis seek recognition


  • Nation
  • Monday, 10 Nov 2003

BY PAUL GABRIEL

KUALA LUMPUR: The United States-backed Iraqi Governing Council is seeking the new Malaysian administration’s recognition to help put the country back on its feet.  

Iraq’s charge d’ affaires here, Dr Mahmoud Khalid Almsafir, said as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Malaysia’s endorsement of the council would be “constructive and significant.”  

He said the council had full confidence and great faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in governing Malaysia and steering the two large organisations forward.  

“We hope to work closely with Malaysia in resolving Iraq’s problems and to enable our nation to eventually stand on its own feet.  

“Malaysia’s peaceful and smooth transition of power is an inspiration to the people of Iraq.  

“The Iraqi Governing Council needs support to restore our independence and we are hoping to see more acceptance from the Malaysian Government,” he said in an interview.  

The 25-member Governing Council was established in July as a first step on the road to democracy for Iraq and to enable Iraqis to play a more central role in running the country.  

It has considerable authority to appoint interim diplomats and ministers, approve budgets and propose policies but the drawback is that the US-led coalition authorities could veto any of its decisions.  

The United Nations has given the Governing Council until Dec 15 to submit a timetable for a new constitution and to fix a date for elections but Dr Mahmoud appealed to Malaysia not to withhold its recognition until these matters were sorted out.  

“The Governing Council wants to establish friendly relations with other countries and we look at Malaysia as a good example of how a nation can live in peace,” he said.  

Dr Mahmoud, who was sent here from Cairo last month, said the Governing Council had written to the Malaysian Government to seek recognition of its status before the OIC Summit last month, adding that he had also discussed the matter with Wisma Putra officials.  

Several members of the Governing Council represented Iraq at the OIC meet but had no opportunity for bilateral talks with Malaysian leaders, he said.  

“We are waiting for a suitable time to talk to Malaysian officials and I’m confident that they will appreciate Iraq’s situation,” added Dr Mahmoud, a former academic at the University of Baghdad.  

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