The top United Nations envoy for Iraq today discussed the situation in Fallujah with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar, focusing on humanitarian conditions in the town and the impact of the hostilities on the civilian population following the United States military attack there.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi also discussed preparations for national elections scheduled for late January, and efforts to create a political and security environment conducive for holding a credible and comprehensive poll.
The meeting came a day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour voiced deep concern over the situation of civilians caught up in the fighting in Fallujah, which US forces have seized from insurgents.
She said all those guilty of violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws - including deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, killing of injured persons and the use of human shields - must be brought to justice, "be they members of the Multinational Force or insurgents." She also voiced concern about poor access to humanitarian aid.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has been closely monitoring the situation in Fallujah, and has provided medical and other essential supplies to the civilian population in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and Iraqi ministries.
Mr. Qazi has been meeting with various Iraqi officials and political and civic activists to explore means by which the United Nations can contribute to advancing the political process in Iraq.