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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Ahmad Chalabi Holds A Press Conference on Transfer of Power in Iraq

Aired November 15, 2003 - 08:56   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you straight to Baghdad right now for a press conference. You are looking at Ahmad Chalabi speaking about the Iraqi Governing Council and the next steps they will be taking in order to take over from the United States in their country.
AHMAD CHALABI, GOVERNING COUNCIL MEMBER: ... transitional council that should, that these procedures will be completed before the end of May, 2004. And this law will embody principles that are -- that find general consensus among the Iraqi people.

Those are, one, respect for human rights and respect for political, basic political freedoms, including the freedom of religion and the practice of religion and the equality among all citizens. B, the separation of powers among the three powers of the state, that is, the judiciary, the executive and the legislative. C, the introduction of a degree of decentralization in the administration of the governing rights with special consideration for the current situation in Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan. D, the prevalence of civilian control over the forces of the army and the security.

To affirm this, the principle of civilian control over the forces of the army and the security. E, the establishment of a democratic federal pluralistic united system of government that will respect the Islamic identity of the majority of the Iraqi people with guarantees for all religions and other sects. This law will include a time period, a timetable for the drafting of a permanent constitution through an elected council, directly elected by the people and also for the election of a new government according to the articles of this new constitution before the end of 2005.

This, these procedures will also include procedures for the selection of the transitional council, which must be chosen before the end of May, 2004. Two, this transitional council, upon its selection, will elect a new Iraqi provisional government, before the end of June, 2004, which will be, which will have full sovereignty and will exercise political authority and it will be internationally recognized. And with its assumption of power, the state of occupation will end and the CPA, the Coalition Provisional Authority, will be dissolved and the role of the Governing Council will end with a establishment of an Iraqi provisional government with full sovereignty.

Three, the work of the provisional council and the government that will be appointed by this council will continue to work until the promulgation of a permanent constitution and the transfer of authority and power to a government that is elected according to the articles of the constitution.

In consideration of the great importance of these measures for every Iraqi citizen, the Governing Council undertakes that starting now and in the coming months and until there establishment of the provisional government, that the Governing Council will participate in an open discussion and dialogue with the widest possible selection of Iraqi personalities, political, religious, social and all other citizens, so that the largest participation of all Iraqis can be assured in the establishment of a new political system in Iraq and we seek god's assistance for success.

(SPEAKING IN ARABIC)

COLLINS: All right, of course, we have been listening in here for just a moment to Baghdad. We have been listening to Ahmad Chalabi, Iraqi Governing Council member, who was speaking in English for a moment there. We were trying to listen in. Here he is again at the microphone so let's listen to the next statement that he's making.

(SPEAKING IN ARABIC)

COLLINS: OK, so maybe not. We can tell you a little bit about what he said earlier, though, talking about, of course, the important steps that the country will be taking to take over power of their country, of course, controlling their own wealth and their political affairs. And most importantly trying to establish this provisional government that we have been haring so much about.

All of these steps, in their words, saying they hope to happen before the spring of 2004.

Once again, Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi Governing Council member, as well as many other members which you saw standing there. The head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Jalal Talabani, has just met with L. Paul Bremer, of course, the head of the civilian authority. I believe they are still meeting and -- actually that's not true because he is standing right next to Ahmad Chalabi. They have had quite a long meeting and this is now the breakdown of that. We are just trying to make sure that we bring you the English version and waiting to do a little bit more of that.

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