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Iraqi Minister Calls For UN's Return To Baghdad

Iraqi Foreign Minister Calls For UN's Return To Baghdad

As Secretary-General Kofi Annan met in New York with his top envoy for Iraq, the country's foreign minister said the return of the United Nations to Baghdad was long overdue.

Mr. Annan held talks on Monday with his Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, who is holding consultations at UN Headquarters this week.

Meanwhile in Baghdad, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Deputy Special Representative in Iraq Ross Mountain that the UN will be necessary to energize the country's political and reconstruction process.

The Foreign Minister sought UN support for Iraq's efforts to hold soon an international conference on reconstruction that would include neighbouring countries.

Mr. Mountain, who was based in Amman, Jordan, where many international staff were relocated after last year's terrorist bombing of the UN's Baghdad headquarters, also met with President Ghazi Al Yawer, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salah.

The deputy envoy reiterated the UN's current priorities - elections in the political process and the humanitarian/reconstruction work of the UN system - and discussed preparatory work for forthcoming elections.

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