US officials say they now want a larger role for the United Nations in Iraq, in the hopes that a new UN mandate will lead to more countries sharing the security and financial burdens in the country.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said US diplomats are circulating ideas for a Security Council resolution calling for an Iraqi election timetable and authorizing a multi-national peacekeeping force. The force would remain under U-S command.
As the US military was turning over security in part of Iraq to a Polish-led international force Wednesday, Mr. Powell was calling his counterparts in France, Germany, Russia and Britain to seek support for a new Security Council resolution.
President Bush authorized the renewed diplomatic effort after countries including India said they needed UN authority to participate in an Iraq force. Muslim countries including Turkey and Pakistan have also been hesitant to participate without a UN mandate.
In Brussels Wednesday, US officials met with major international donors to prepare for a conference next month in Madrid at which the United States hopes to get pledges of financial help for rebuilding Iraq.
Meanwhile, the transition to a new Iraqi government took another step Wednesday, with the swearing-in of cabinet ministers chosen by the US -appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
The top US administrator in Iraq -- Paul Bremer -- says the ministers will begin handling the day-to-day business of government. They will act as an interim government until elections are held, but Mr. Bremer will retain overall authority in the country.