Iraqis US Cut Deal on President Car Bomb at PUK Headquarters

BAGHDAD (Reuters)–Iraqi leaders cut a face-saving deal Tuesday with the United States and United Nations on a president and government to lead the country out of occupation.

An 11th-hour compromise saw Washington’s choice of president make way for tribal chief Ghazi Yawar. He was then sworn in with an interim cabinet of technocrats in a televised ceremony rich in symbolism at a palace complex built by Saddam Hussein.

A car bomb that tore through the nearby offices of a Kurdish political party–killing and wounding several people–underlined the scale of the challenge the interim administration faces in organizing first free elections in the New Year.

Several rockets also landed around the US compound as officials were meeting–wounding one Iraqi. And a suicide car bomber killed 11 Iraqis outside a US base north of Baghdad.

CAR BOMB

The death toll was unclear in the bombing of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s Baghdad headquarters. A US officer said three people were confirmed dead and 20 wounded–but police at the scene said the toll was considerably higher.

A huge crater was blown into the ground at the entrance to the PUK building–close to the "Green Zone" compound where officials were announcing the deal on the new government.

In a face-saving maneuver–the 22-member Governing Council initially dropped its objection to Pachachi. Then–within minutes–the 81-year-old former foreign minister renounced the post and Brahimi declared that Yawar would become head of state.

Officials then announced that the Council–whose members US officials had accused of trying to cling to power by claiming positions in the new government–was being wound up.

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