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With security, UN will send electoral team to Iraq

With adequate security, UN will send electoral team to Iraq – Annan

27 January 2004 – Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced in Paris today that the United Nations will send a team to Iraq to explore the possibility of elections before the transfer of sovereignty as long as the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) provides adequate security arrangements.

His decision comes in response to a request, on 19 January, from both the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council for a UN technical mission to travel to the country to establish whether elections for a transitional national assembly can be held before 30 June, and if not, what alternative arrangement would be acceptable.

"I have concluded that the United Nations can play a constructive role in helping to break the current impasse," Mr. Annan said today, pledging to send the requested mission "once I am satisfied that the CPA will provide adequate security arrangements."

"The mission will ascertain the views of a broad spectrum of Iraqi society in the search for alternatives that might be developed to move forward to the formation of a provisional government," he added.

The Secretary-General, who has long said that there is no single "right way" to proceed, stressed that "the most sustainable way forward would be one that came from the Iraqis themselves."

Consensus among all Iraqi constituencies, he emphasized, "would be the best guarantee of a legitimate and credible transitional governance arrangement for Iraq."

The mission will report to Mr. Annan on its return to New York.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, Mr. Annan voiced hope that the mission's presence and efforts would help the Iraqis come to a consensus. He also reiterated his firm belief that if the Iraqis could agree on the way forward, then the process would be viewed as legitimate. Otherwise, he warned, the conflict risked continuing.

A UN spokesperson in New York today confirmed that, in addition to a previously announced UN security mission to Iraq, another security assessment team arrived there today ahead of the electoral team.

The first group, a security liaison team, had arrived last Friday with the primary purpose of liaising with the CPA and the coalition forces, as well as providing a focal point for UN national staff remaining in Iraq, spokesperson Marie Okabe said. It is also mandated to start liaison work for the possible return of UN international staff in the future. The first security team's activities in Iraq were planned before the 19 January talks.

27/01/2004
Press Release
SG/SM/9129
IK/419


SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL SEND ELECTION TEAM TO IRAQ, ONCE SATISFIED


WITH COALITION SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS


The following statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan was issued today in Paris:

At our meeting on 19 January, both the Iraqi Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority asked me to send a technical mission to Iraq to establish whether elections for a transitional national assembly can be held before the transfer of sovereignty on 30 June, and, if not, what alternative arrangement would be acceptable.

Since then we have been analysing the situation and studying the relevant documents. I have concluded that the United Nations can play a constructive role in helping to break the current impasse. Therefore, once I am satisfied that the CPA will provide adequate security arrangements, I will send a mission to Iraq in response to the requests that I received.

The mission will ascertain the views of a broad spectrum of Iraqi society in the search for alternatives that might be developed to move forward to the formation of a provisional government. The mission will report to me on its return to New York.

I have already made clear that in my view there is no single “right way”. I strongly hold to the idea that the most sustainable way forward would be one that came from the Iraqis themselves. Consensus amongst all Iraqi constituencies would be the best guarantee of a legitimate and credible transitional governance arrangement for Iraq.

* *** *

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