World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Annan Says UN Will Do All It Can To Help Iraqis

Annan Says UN Will Do All It Can To Help Iraqis Advance Political Process

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today pledged the world body's full support for the political process in Iraq as a senior UN aide announced that more international staffers would head to the war-ravaged country to help with preparations for January elections.

"The United Nations is determined to do whatever it can to assist the Iraqi people, the circumstances permitting," Mr. Annan told reporters in New York.

He stressed that the elections must involve the broadest possible range of Iraqis. "Of course there are some extremists whom one can never get into the process, but the more inclusive the process, the greater the possibility that it will succeed and the results of the elections will be productive," he said.

Kieran Prendergast, who heads the UN Political Affairs Department, told a press briefing, "The Secretary-General accepts that we need to deploy more people [and] we will be deploying those people as circumstances permit."

Joining him was Carina Perelli, head of the UN electoral assistance office, who said conducting out-of-country voting "will be fraught with a lot of technical difficulties."

She noted that more resources will be required to facilitate the process. "We will support as much as we can through the mission. We have questions in terms of the feasibility of this exercise, but if [the Iraqis] have taken this decision we will assist them technically as much as we can."

Mr. Prendergast also stressed that "there is a difference between what is desirable and what is feasible given the very tight time constraints within which we are working."

Iraqis have already started enrolling in the election process, with 85 per cent of the 542 registration centres in place open. Balloting is planned for January to allow Iraqis to choose members of a constituent assembly that will then draw up a constitution.

Echoing the Secretary-General's comments about inclusiveness, Mr. Prendergast said, "Constitutions are best designed when they have a very broad base of input into the process" through a wide-ranging consultation.

The UN wants the elections to result in the broadest possible range of Iraqi constituencies in the Assembly, he added.

He predicted that Iraqi Kurds would participate in large numbers, as would the Shia'a. "Less likely to participate are the communities who are alienated and [we must look at] what can be done to encourage them to come into the process."

Ms. Perelli, referring to the importance of hearing the "unmediated voice of the Iraqi people," stressed the importance of ensuring that all centres - not just 85 per cent - can open. This will allow people to "vote with their feet" by indicating their level of interest in participating. "Our job is to ensure that they have the means of participating."

She said she did not expect a partial election, but added: "Right now it's too early to make any sort of predications."

Meanwhile in Baghdad, talks on the elections were held between the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, and the country's Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Saleh.

Mr. Saleh is a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the two men touched on the situation in that area, according to a UN spokesman.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news