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Iraqi bishop cites fear of chaos July 07, 2003

An Iraqi bishop has called for the formation of a provisional government in his country, warning that Iraq is slipping into "chaos."

Speaking on Vatican Radio on July 5, Bishop Shlemon Warduni, a Chaldean Catholic auxiliary in Baghdad, reported: "There is no security in Iraq."

"The people of Iraq are living in great difficulty," Bishop Warduni said. In the absence of an effective government, he continued, "we are falling into chaos."

The Chaldean bishop made it clear that he was not complaining about the American effort to restore Iraq. "The Americans are here to help us, and we thank them. They have already done a great deal."

However, he said, the country cannot regain a sense of normalcy until there is "a provisional government-- or at least a system of law." The bishop urged international leaders to cooperate in the effort "to make Iraq free and democratic, without any occupation."

"The time of fear and dictatorship is over," said Bishop Warduni. "Now, particularly for the sake of the young people and children, we want a bit of freedom."

Iraq also faces a host of serious practical problems, the bishop reported. He cited the need for law and order and the restoration of reliable electrical service. There is also a severe shortage of medical supplies, he related. And after five months in which the economy has been thoroughly disrupted, the people of Iraq need jobs in order to provide for their families.

Bishop Warduni said that Catholic leaders in Iraq will do "everything possible" to reach accord on public issues with responsible Islamic leaders, "because they are also concerned about fanaticism."

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