Top UN envoy urges Iraqis to refrain from ‘sectarian hatred’

25 June 2009

Deploring yesterday’s bombing in Sadr City, as well as the recent string of attacks across Iraq, a senior United Nations official today called on all Iraqis not to respond to the deadly incidents with sectarian violence.

“We have long been aware that certain groups whose aim is to kill innocent civilians would try to take advantage of an impending change in security arrangements in Iraq,” Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said.

These groups seek to incite violence between communities, “hoping for a return to the dark days of 2006,” he added.

Speaking from New York, where he has been briefing both the Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in Iraq, Mr. de Mistura said there is no excuse for this “deliberate” attempt to kill civilians.

“Our appeal to everyone in Iraq, from all communities, is not to fall into the killers’ trap and to avoid responding to this provocation in the way that they desperately want – with sectarian hatred and violence.”

Earlier this month, Mr. de Mistura, who also serves as the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), announced he is stepping down from his position after serving nearly two years in the country to take up a senior post with the World Food Programme (WFP).


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