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Baghdad civil servants mull resuming work

From Jim Clancy
CNN Correspondent

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In an attempt to restore order in Iraq's capital after three weeks of war and days of looting, an opposition figure Sunday called on Iraqi civil servants to "build a new era for Iraq."

Many of Baghdad's ranking police officers were on hand as Mohammed Mussen al Zubaydi urged them to help return security to the streets and halt a wave of looting.

Zubaydi, who until recently had lived in exile in Britain, told about 1,500 civil servants that if they were police officers or electrical plant workers they should return to their jobs.

"We want everyone to do his job to build a new era for Iraq," Zubaydi said.

"We don't need any discrimination or differences between people," said Zubaydi. "We all need to work together to build a new Baghdad and a new Iraq."

Many of the civil servants gathered in groups outside the meeting hall to coordinate assignments to return to their jobs.

Despite the enthusiasm many showed for a return to normalcy, some in the crowd rejected the notion of Zubaydi as an opposition leader. His spokesman referred to him as such.

"We don't want a leader. We don't want to talk about the past. We want to move ahead," they said.

Nonetheless, the mass meeting represented the first real move by Iraqis themselves to re-establish a civil administration. Many said they wanted to begin work to show the world they could build a democracy in the ruins of Saddam Hussein's regime.

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