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Iraq: top UN envoy meets with US administrator

Iraq: top UN envoy meets with US administrator

United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello today discussed the evolving political process in Iraq with the head of the United States-run provisional administration, L. Paul Bremer.

The 30-minute meeting in Baghdad was part of the ongoing, almost daily consultations Mr. Vieira de Mello, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, has been having with all segments in Iraq since his arrival there at the beginning of June.

Tomorrow, he is expected to travel to the city of Al-Hilla as part of his continuing efforts to meet with Iraqis outside the capital.

On a related note, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) opened a three day meeting in Beirut today, entitled " Iraq and the Region after the War."

Participants were considering possible action by intellectuals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) aimed at confronting the challenges of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian reconstruction and development in Iraq.

ESCWA Executive Secretary Mervat Tallawy, told the opening session the commission would be sending a needs assessment team to Iraq. ESCWA, in cooperation with UN sister agencies and concerned organizations, was trying to re-build Iraqi's economic and social infrastructure in order to enable the country contribute to growth of Arab States, she said.

The Lebanon Country Manager of the World Bank, Omar Razzaz, told the session: "The important question for this meeting is how to frame the development agenda for Iraq given its history and rich base in oil, water and human capital.

"In other words, how can Iraq ensure that its medium to long term development contribute to a diversified economy, broad distribution of its benefits, and avoiding the typical incentives for a bloated public sector, excessive consumption at the expense of future generations, and a 'rentier based' system of governance," he added.

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