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Annan hopes for 'effective' UN role in establishing new Iraqi government

Annan hopes for 'effective' UN role in establishing new Iraqi government

Kofi Annan speaks to reporters
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today he hoped the world body would play an "effective role" in the process of establishing a new Iraqi Government.

"This idea of establishing an Iraqi Government is a process," he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York when asked how crucial it was that the UN play a significant role now in the steps coalition forces and the Iraqis seemed to be taking in forming a transitional government.

"We are at an early phase, and as we move down the line I hope there will be an understanding which would allow the UN to play an effective role in the process," he added.

The Secretary-General said he hoped there would be progress "in the not-too-distant future" to clarify the UN role and that he would be meeting with the Security Council this week on the issue.

Asked why he had not sent an observer to yesterday's meeting in Baghdad of various political factions called by the United States, he said it was because discussions were still going on in the Council.

"Of course, the Security Council is discussing the UN role in Iraq," he replied. "I will be meeting with them this week and I hope we will be able to make progress in the not-too-distant future. Obviously, apart from the UN role on the ground, the Council is also discussing the issues of sanctions, oil-for-food and other related issues."

He added: "We are hoping to have a clearer idea of the UN role, and also hoping to get additional information as to the process and the organization of the meeting (in Baghdad), but of course this does not mean that in the future, once we have finished our discussions, we will not find a way of cooperating with others."

Asked whether he saw the role that the Europeans were trying to play in Iraq as strengthening the role he would like the UN to play, Mr. Annan replied: "The European Union has been very supportive of a UN role in Iraq and have been discussing this with us and also with Washington. They have been consistent, and you are right, they have been trying to support the UN role in which they would also play an active role."

image Video of Kofi Annan speaking to reporters