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Collective leadership for the Iraqi conference to unify Iraqi opposition

Arabic News, 9 April 1999

The Iraqi opposition groups rallied under the umbrella of the US-backed Iraqi National Congress on Thursday eliminated an obstacle which has obstructed the implementation of Iraq's Liberation Law, following the success of these groups in electing a collective provisional presidency for the conference's executive council at the conclusion of two-day meetings held near London.

Sources in the Iraqi National Assembly members who attended the meeting in Britain stressed that seven members were elected to the presidency of the provisional group until the convening of the national assembly in order to elect a permanent collective leadership in July 7.

The conference's provisional leadership included Ahmad al-Jalabi, chairman of the conference's executive council; Riyadh Elwawer (independent); Hoshiar Zebari (the Kurdistani Democratic Party); Eyad Allawi (the National Reconciliation Movement); Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, (the Islamic Call Cadres); Latif Rashieed (the Kurdistani National Federation); and Hamid al-Bayatti (the Higher Council of the Islamic Revolution).

Al-Bayati said he was elected without being consulted about that, as he did not attend meeting.

US Senator Robert Kerrey asserted the need to topple the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the year 2000. He stressed that the US congress and administration decided to provide military aid to the Iraqi people in order to topple the regime. He expressed his satisfaction to the inclination of the Iraqi opposition groups to further closeness and coordination, noting that there has become a vast area now to implement the Iraq's liberation law' which signed by US President Bill Clinton.

Members at the executive council said that Kerrey extended an invitation to the new collective presidency to visit Washington shortly and to meet with US Congress members and officials. Besides the Islamic revolution higher council, the meetings were also boycotted by the Islamic call party and the Iraqi communist Party.