— WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it
would convene a meeting of Iraqis in the southern city of Nassiriya
on Tuesday to discuss the future of Iraq and an eventual interim
authority to govern the country.
"It will take place in Nassiriya next Tuesday the 15th," State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.
"We expect this to be the first in a series of regional meetings
that will provide a forum for Iraqis to discuss their vision of the
future and their ideas regarding the Iraqi interim authority,"
"We hope these meetings will culminate in a nationwide conference
that can be held in Baghdad in order to form the Iraqi interim
Boucher said participants, invited by Gen. Tommy Franks -- the
U.S. officer in charge of the war on Iraq -- would include "Iraqis
from newly freed areas" of the country, members of the Iraqi
opposition and Iraqis who took part in a long-running State
Department project on the postwar future of Iraq.
The spokesman said White House envoy Zalmay Khalilzad would lead
the U.S. delegation to the meeting.
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