IRAQI INTERIOR MINISTER NOURI BADRAN HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE IN BAGHDAD
Ceerwan Aziz  /  Reuters file
Nuri al-Badran
updated 4/8/2004 8:37:23 AM ET 2004-04-08T12:37:23

Iraq's interior minister, in charge of security forces, announced his resignation on Thursday at the request of top U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer to maintain the Shiite-Sunni balance in the government.

Nuri al-Badran, a Shiite Muslim, noted that the defense minister is also a Shiite and said he wanted to maintain a balance of Iraq's religious groups on the Cabinet.

He quoted Bremer as telling him, "That will cause an imbalance, and we in the coalition cannot accept that. The solution is for you to step down from your position."

"I consider myself to have resigned," al-Badran told reporters.

The resignation comes as U.S.-led coalition forces are battling an uprising across the south by a Shiite militia led by a radical cleric.

Iraqi police, who are under al-Badran's command, have largely stood aside as militiamen seized control in several cities. It was not immediately known if al-Badran's resignation was connected to the police performance.

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