Iraq's National Conference must elect credible Interim Council, UN envoy says

Iraq's National Conference must elect credible Interim Council, UN envoy says

Amb. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
A credible political transition in Iraq is the best solution to ongoing violence there, the senior United Nations envoy told the country's National Conference meeting in Baghdad today.

“The current strife and instability, as demonstrated by recent events in Najaf and elsewhere, cannot be addressed through security measures alone,” Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Iraq, told the gathering. “They require political consensus building, rehabilitation measures, and the promotion of the rule of law.”

Voicing deep regret over the loss of life and casualties suffered by the Iraqi people, he emphasized the importance of a broad and inclusive political process and moderation in advancing the political transition.

The most immediate goal, he said, is the election of a “credible and inclusive” Interim Council to ensure successful elections by the end of January 2005 and the transition of Iraq to a constitutional democracy by the end of that year.

He hailed Iraq as the birthplace of society's first laws, and voiced confidence that now it could build a civil society that shuns lawlessness and violence. “All of you present here today have the opportunity to be recognized by history as the founders of a modern Iraq that will be the pride of your children and grandchildren and theirs,” he said. “If you keep in mind the interests of your great country and countrymen who will be keenly watching your proceedings, discussions and conclusions you will surely achieve success.”

Earlier today, Mr. Qazi continued his meetings with Iraqi officials, holding talks with Foreign Minister Hushiar Zibari, the Chair of the High Preparatory Commission for the Iraqi National Conference, Fuad Massum, and the Head of the National Electoral Commission, Abdullahassan Al Hindawi.