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UNSC members hail Annan's Iraq elections decision

Security Council members hail Annan's decision to send team to Iraq

27 January 2004 – Several members of the United Nations Security Council today voiced support for Secretary-General Kofi Annan's decision to send a team to Iraq to examine the feasibility of elections before the 30 June transfer of sovereignty.

Making his announcement earlier Tuesday in Paris, Mr. Annan said the team must have adequate security to carry out its task of soliciting 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.

"We welcome the decision by the Secretary-General to send an electoral mission, subject to security arrangements," said Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile. "We feel this is a very important step to collaborate with the Iraqis in their political process."

At the same time, he emphasized the need for quality. "Elections can be carried out in five months," he said. "The question is whether you can carry out credible and transparent elections - that will be the challenge for this mission: whether credible, transparent elections that meet all the conditions of an election that will be accepted by all Iraqis and the international community can be carried out in this lapse of time."

Ambassador John D. Negroponte of the United States also hailed the dispatch of a mission. "It is part of the process on the part of the Secretary-General and the United Nations of re-engaging itself in Iraq," he said. "I know this is going to be a step-by-step process but it's definitely a positive development."

"Clearly, the United Nations can play an important role in this unfolding political process in Iraq," he added in response to press questions.

Also asked about the development, Pakistan's Ambassador, Munir Akram, replied, "This is a decision that was taken by the Secretary-General [who] has obviously taken time to deliberate upon it and we would wish him and the team all success."

German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said, "We have welcomed the fact that the Secretary-General saw fit, also regarding his responsibility for the security of his people, to send this mission to talk to the people in Iraq and listen to what they want."

Responding to questions on the role of the UN in relation to the coalition, he said, "Everybody has every interest in trying to find a way of reaching the 30th of June and having an interim government by the 1st of July, and if the United Nations can be helpful in that process, it will do it."

ENDS

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