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Multinational Commission Working to Smooth Transition

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2005 – A high-level commission established in Baghdad, Iraq, is "a useful exercise" in helping Iraqis develop effective ministries, a senior Defense Department official said here today.

The Joint Commission for Conditions-Based Transition held its initial meeting Aug. 2, according to a news release from Multinational Force Iraq. The commission's main goal is to develop a plan to gradually transfer responsibility for security in Iraq to Iraqi security forces.

DoD spokesman Larry Di Rita said the commission is a good initiative "to help focus the development of ministries a little bit better and to develop a work plan going forward."

Commission members include: Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Baqir Jabr; Defense Minister Sadun al-Dulaymi; National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubai; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad; British Ambassador to Iraq William Patey; and U.S. Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force Iraq.

In the first meeting, the Multinational Force Iraq news release said, commission members agreed on a set of guidelines to use in developing their plan:

  • The key consideration is the capability of Iraqi security forces;
  • Other considerations will include the capacity of local governments to exercise civil authority and provide basic services, as well as the level of the insurgent threat;
  • Transition of security will not be based on rigid timelines;
  • Transition will be gradual to ensure continued success of Iraqi governance and security forces; and
  • The transition of security to Iraqi security forces and the reduced presence of coalition forces will be visible to the Iraqi people.
The commission established a smaller working group that will meet twice weekly to work out details. The full commission will then meet every other week "to finalize the conditions and criteria for the conditions-based transition," the release stated. The commission is expected to provide recommendations to Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari by Sept. 26.

"I think we'll be seeing more activity out of (the commission) as we move forward," Di Rita said.

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