Al-Yawir was sworn in on Tuesday with an interim cabinet of technocrats in a televised ceremony rich in symbolism at a palace complex built by Saddam Hussein.

Before the ceremony council sources had revealed that al-Yawir got the job after Adnan Pachachi, a candidate favoured by Washington, declined an offer to take the position.

In his first public remarks, al-Yawir said he wanted the United Nations Security Council to grant the country "full sovereignty" in a resolution now under discussion. 

"We the Iraqis look forward to being granted full sovereignty through a Security Council resolution to enable us to rebuild a free, independent, democratic and federal unified homeland," al-Yawir told a news conference.

VPs also named

United Nations envoy al-Ibrahimi, who confirmed al-Yawir's appointment, said in a statement the vice-presidents would be Ibrahim Jaafari, head of the Shia Muslim Dawa party, and Rowsch Shways, a politician from Iraq's non-Arab Kurdish minority. 

Adnan Pachachi rejected the
post of Iraq president

Al-Ibrahimi said he had passed on recommendations for a
26-member cabinet team to prime minister-designate Iyad Allawi. 

In a press conference, Pachachi explained that he declined the offer of the post of Iraq's interim president after he was accused of being the candidate of the United States. 

"I gathered that certain parties were not satisfied that I should hold the post," said Pachachi. "It is a lie ... that the Coalition Provisional Authority wanted to impose me as president," he said, noting that al-Ibrahimi had put him forward. 

"It's wrong, I was never the CPA candidate, they had another
candidate. Upon reflection, I turned down the post (for) personal reasons," Pachachi said. 

He said it was a "symbolic" position but also represented "the sovereignty of Iraq". The president had to "have the support of all sectors of society ... because he must be a factor for unity not disunity".

Pachachi suggested that "certain parties" wanted to keep him out of the job because of his "democratic and liberal views" and for his "opposition to any confessional carve-up" of political power in Iraq. 

But the job had "to go to a Sunni Arab", Pachachi added.

Bush pleased

Despite Pachachi's rejection US president George Bush said he looked forward to working with the new interim government.

Iraqis in Mosul celebrate the
appointment of al-Yawir

Bush pledged to work with the new prime minister, Iyad Allawi, days after the United States was caught off guard when the Iraqi Governing Council chose him to lead a government that takes over on June 30 and is to guide the country to national elections in December or January.

"All the new prime minister needs to know is that I look forward to a close relationship with him," Bush said at a Rose Garden news conference.

He also said the group "possesses the talent, the commitment and the resolve to guide Iraq through the challenges that lie ahead."

Council dissolved

The Iraqi Governing Council decided to dissolve immediately after the appointment of the new interim government.

Council member Yunadam Kana told reporters that 20 of the 22 members of the US-appointed body, which was appointed last July, agreed to go out of business. 

The council had been expected to remain in office until the transfer of sovereignty on 30 June.

Kana said that two members expressed reservations, arguing the interim constitution adopted in March required the council to continue its work until the sovereignty transfer at the end of this month.

In other developments, the US and UK revised their UN resolution on handing sovereignty to Iraq in June.

Although no date was given for a full withdrawal, diplomats said it would be when permanent government took office - which is expected to be in December of 2005.