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UN political chief visits Iraq ahead of Kuwait summit

UN political chief visits Iraq ahead of Kuwait summit

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe
The top United Nations political official has just wrapped up a three-day visit to Baghdad, expressing confidence that the world body is doing its part to help build a peaceful and prosperous Iraq, and praising UN staff on the ground for their dedication under difficult conditions.

While in Iraq, B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, visited with the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and held meetings with senior officials of the Iraqi Government and the Multinational Forces (MNF).

He was briefed on the situation in the strife-torn country and UN assistance to the Government and people of Iraq in areas covered by Security Council resolution 1770. These include elections, reconciliation, the resolution of disputed boundaries, human rights and humanitarian concerns, as well as UN support for reconstruction and development.

Mr. Pascoe also toured UNAMI facilities and the international zone in which the mission is located. He said he was impressed by UNAMI’s stepped up efforts to assist Iraq since the passage of resolution 1770 last August and the appointment of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura. At a town hall meeting with UNAMI staff, he expressed strong support and appreciation for their dedication and hard work under difficult circumstances.

“Despite the many challenges facing Iraq, I believe the United Nations is playing a constructive and positive role and will continue working to build a peaceful and prosperous Iraq,” Mr. Pascoe said at the conclusion of the visit.

Mr. Pascoe had meetings with Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdel Mahdi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih. He said both expressed appreciation for the work of the UN in Iraq and proposed areas where the mission could do more.

In particular, he said, both leaders welcomed the role that the UN is playing with respect to the resolution of disputed internal territories, preparations for governorate elections before the end of the year, assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons, and facilitating political dialogue and national reconciliation.

“They also thanked the United Nations for its efforts in supporting humanitarian and reconstruction efforts, and in particular, helping to build a positive momentum for the development and implementation of the International Compact with Iraq,” he added.

Before departing, the Under-Secretary-General also held discussions today on the political and security situation in Iraq with United States Ambassador Ryan Crocker and with the MNF Force Commander, General David Petraeus. Both expressed strong support for UNAMI’s current activities and vowed to help in any way they can, he said.

Mr. Pascoe arrived Monday evening in Kuwait, where he will attend, on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a meeting of Iraq and neighbouring countries beginning on Tuesday.

He is expected to brief the Security Council on the situation in Iraq next week.