Al-Yawer: Pressured to withdraw from race

June 2, 2004 at 4:44 PM

WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- The newly appointed Iraqi president said Wednesday he was pressured to drop out of the race so an American favorite could be selected.

"I was told to accept the post of ambassador to the United States with the ranking of Minister, Minister of State, and Deputy Prime Minister. I turned them down all. I did not come back to Iraq seeking positions," said Ghazi al-Yawer during a television interview with Abu Dhabi television.

Al-Yawer, a Sunni sheik, was named Iraq's interim president Tuesday. He will serve until the elections in January. He was selected over Adnan Pachachi, an 80-year old former Iraqi diplomat and exile with close ties to the United States.

"It was clear to whom the coalition was leaning and supporting, on the other hand I was the candidate of the Iraqi people and the Governing Council. The important thing to emphasize is that I was not the Coalition authority candidate and has no relations to the American administrations," al-Yawer said.

Al-Yawer said Pachachi withdrew his name from the competition.

"Dr. Pachachi is an old person and recognizes that the job requires a lot of work and that's the reason why he decided to withdraw his name in my favor, and I thank him for the gesture," he said.

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