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April 23, 2004 3:00 AM

Bremer says coalition to ease job restrictions on Baathists

In another reversal of Bush administration policy, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer said Friday that former rank-and-file members of Saddam Husseins ruling Baath Party and ex-senior military officials would be allowed to hold jobs in the Iraqi government and military. As the coalition prepares for the June 30 return of sovereignty to Iraqis, Bremer is seeking to solve the security crisis, which has led to delays in reconstruction projects, and crushing levels of unemployment, which are partly the result of ostracizing former Baath Party members, many of whom are skilled technocrats. Bremers policy shift added to the sense that the Bush administration is heading toward the June 30 restoration of sovereignty to Iraqis without a strong compass.

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