Anti-occupation Iraqi group forms
Sunday 09 May 2004, 12:52 Makka Time, 9:52 GMT
A pan-Iraqi group has been formed to oppose the occupation of Iraq and has immediately called for a meeting with UN envoy al-Akhdar al-Ibrahimi in a direct challenge to the country's US-appointed leadership.
About 500 Iraqis met in Baghdad on Saturday to set up a national political force free of US influence to push for a handover of sovereignty under the auspices of the United Nations.
The United Iraqi Scholars Group - which appointed a 16-strong leadership panel - has vowed to boycott any political group set up by the US and called for a stronger army than the small force envisioned by the US-led coalition.
After a five-hour conference, the group said its agenda was based on "legitimate resistance to end the occupation" and keep Iraq united.
The group of moderate Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as Kurds also demanded the US-appointed Governing Council should be sidelined.