Italian Aide Quits Post on U.S.-Led Coalition

From Associated Press

An Italian member of the U.S.-led coalition has resigned, accusing L. Paul Bremer III's administration of inefficiency and failing to understand Iraq.

In Rome, the Italian Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed the resignation of Marco Calamai, a special counselor of the Coalition Provisional Authority in the southern province of Dhi Qar, but it gave no reason.

Italy was a strong U.S. supporter during the war and deployed peacekeepers to help rebuild Iraq. But in an interview with the leftist daily L'Unita, Calamai complained that the British and Americans had marginalized the Italians.

There was no immediate comment from Bremer's staff. But State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the coalition authority had made "excellent progress," including "the physical reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration of services to Iraqi people, the beginnings of political authority."

Calamai told Italian reporters in Nasiriyah on Sunday that the failure of the coalition to understand Iraqi society had created "disillusionment, social discontent and anger" among Iraqis and allowed terrorism to "easily take root." He cited last week's truck bombing at an Italian garrison in the city that killed 19 Italians and 14 others. The Italian victims lay in state Monday in Rome as tens of thousands of mourners paid tribute.

Calamai said reconstruction money was being spent too slowly "because of the muddled organization."

"The provisional authority simply doesn't work," and only a U.N. administration can turn the tide, Calamai said. However, despite calls for increased U.N. involvement, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday in New York that security still wasn't good enough for U.N. staff to return to Baghdad.

Annan raised the possibility of the United Nations providing assistance from outside Iraq, or from more peaceful cities that were "relatively risk-free" inside the country.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
66°