Iraq: Ban Ki-moon says UN will work with Government and partners to promote stability

Iraq: Ban Ki-moon says UN will work with Government and partners to promote stability

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said the United Nations will work with the Baghdad Government and key partners to promote stability in Iraq, while continuing efforts to facilitate the political process to the full extent possible within prevailing security constraints.

At his first press conference since taking the reins of the UN on 1 January, Mr. Ban was asked to react to proposals by United States President Bush made on Wednesday concerning Iraq. “This was just announced yesterday evening, and its impact is to be seen,” he said, while adding that in general, “the United Nations would welcome genuine efforts to improve security for ordinary Iraqis as well as to stabilize the country through a combination of security, political and economic means.”

Mr. Ban said the UN will coordinate efforts with the Government and others on how best to support efforts to stabilize Iraq. “In accordance with this mandate, the United Nations will continue to provide assistance on the constitutional review process in facilitating the political process,” he said.

The Secretary-General recalled that the UN has been working to advance the political transition in Iraq, including through monitoring elections and supporting the process of drafting the country’s constitution.

“We will continue to participate in that process as much as we can. But our participation and contribution at this time is largely dictated by the security situations on the ground,” he said. UN activities in Iraq were severely curtailed following the 2003 bombing of the Organization’s Baghdad headquarters, where 22 people were killed, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Mr. Ban also spotlighted the UN-backed International Compact with Iraq, a partnership involving the international community that aims to consolidate peace and pursue political, economic and social development over the next five years. “This is also a very important agenda which I am going to follow, in close consultation with the Member States,” he said.