THE best bit of news for Iraq's future came too late to be incorporated in Friday's speeches marking the first anniversary of the start of the Anglo/American invasion. It was contained in two letters from Baghdad to the United Nations asking Secretary General Kofi Annan to send a UN team as soon as possible to help with the transfer of power from the United States to Iraqi authorities scheduled for June 30th. Mr Annan said he would be replying immediately that Lakhdar Brahimi, the chief UN envoy for Iraq, would lead a team in the near future. The two letters were from the American administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and the Iraq Governing Council. Mr Bremer is extremely anxious to get the UN back in Baghdad; without its presence he would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach agreement on the form that the new interim Iraqi government, due to take office on 1 July, should take. However, the invitation from the Iraq Governing Council was more guarded; last week several members said that they did need the UN to help with the transition and some criticised Mr Brahimi for the part he played on a previous mission to Iraq when he advised that full elections could not take place before 1 July. This criticism came mainly from the representatives on the Council of the influential Shiite Muslim community. Mr Brahimi's main task will be to advise on whether the interim government should be formed by expanding the existing US–appointed Iraq Governing Council or by holding a meeting of tribal leaders to elect representatives – a formula Mr Brahimi used with some success when he was the UN's special envoy to Afghanistan following the US campaign there.