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Ban dispatches special envoy to Iraq in aftermath of deadly blasts in capital

Ban dispatches special envoy to Iraq in aftermath of deadly blasts in capital

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced he will dispatch an envoy to Iraq to consult with the Government on security and sovereignty issues in the country just days after a double bombing killed around 150 people in Baghdad.

“In response to a request from the Government of Iraq, I will send Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to Iraq,” Mr. Ban told reporters in New York.

“As elsewhere, these acts of violence target the innocent and aim to disrupt the country’s fragile democracy,” said Mr. Ban.

Sunday’s car bombings near the Iraqi Ministry of Justice and the Baghdad Provincial Governorate Building in central Baghdad followed the explosions on 19 August that killed an estimated 100 people in the capital.

During last month’s high-level debate in the General Assembly, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called on the UN to set up an independent international commission to investigate deadly bombings and attacks that have struck the country since 2008, including the 19 August blasts.

Mr. Talabani said that the scope and nature of the attacks meant they could only have been carried out with external help and warranted an outside investigation, as well as a special international court to try those accused of committing the crimes.

Responding to questions from journalists today, Mr. Ban said that any probe into these attacks requires a mandate from the UN’s 15-member Security Council.

Iraqi lawmakers are also considering amendments to key electoral laws over voter records in the oil-rich, ethnically mixed region of Kirkuk in the north and the publication of candidate lists, which threaten to delay national elections scheduled for January 2010.