Top UN envoy meets Iraqi Prime Minister again on Najaf fighting

Top UN envoy meets Iraqi Prime Minister again on Najaf fighting

Amb. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
The top United Nations envoy for Iraq today met with the country's interim Prime Minister in Baghdad to discuss the battles still raging in the holy Shiite Muslim city of Najaf.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi also discussed with Prime Minister Iyad Allawi the UN's role in reconstructing Iraq. Mr. Allawi repeated his appreciation for the UN aid and facilitating role during the recent Iraqi National Conference, which chose an interim national assembly to monitor the government's work.

Asked in New York whether Mr. Qazi had again offered UN help to resolve the fighting in Najaf between United States and interim Government forces on the one hand and Shiite Muslim cleric Said Moqtada Al-Sadr's militia on the other, spokesman Stephane Dujarric referred reporters to Mr. Annan's statement of 13 August.

The Secretary-General said then that the world body "stands ready to extend its facilitating role in helping to resolve the current crisis, if this would be helpful."

Mr. Qazi yesterday met with several political leaders, including the leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdulaziz Al Hakim, Finance Minister Adel Abdelmahdi and Deputy Foreign Minister Hamed Al Bayati, to discuss the UN role in the political transition, in particular the electoral process that begins with a vote for a constituent assembly in January.

Earlier, he met ambassadors of the permanent members of the Security Council as well as an array of civil society leaders.