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Iraq Aid To Foster Climate Conducive To Elections

Aid To Iraq Should Foster Climate Conducive To Elections, Un Official Tells Donors

Everything must be done between now and January to foster a political climate in Iraq conducive to open, free and fair elections, the head of the main United Nations development agency (UNDP) told donors meeting today in Tokyo.

Mark Malloch Brown also cautioned that a long-range view is essential. "We would, however, be short-sighted to look only at a timetable that takes us to January," he told the Meeting of the Donor Committee of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq.

"We must ensure that by January there is a momentum to our broader reconstruction activities so that so that when a democratically-elected government takes office in Baghdad, people will see an improvement in their lives," he added.

"We must ensure that after the elections the Iraqi people start to have choices about lifestyle, education, and jobs. And that these can be made in an environment of human security and the full restoration of everyday services - such as electricity and water supply. Democracy also means a normal - and a safe - life."

Mr. Malloch Brown acknowledged that because UN staff are among those targeted in Iraq, the UN had not been able to deploy adequate staff to the country. "It is not enough, and we know it," he said.

Nevertheless, UNDP has transferred $402 million to UN implementing organizations for 40 approved projects, he told the conference. "With your help, the seeds will take root and grow and provide the visible evidence of Iraqi sovereignty and progress, and above all, self-determination. For these are the best answers to today's violence," he said.

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