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Iraqi Election Success Augurs Well For Transition

Success Of Iraqi Election Augurs Well For Transition, Annan Says, Pledging UN Support

Reacting to early indications following today's polling in Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the election's success, urged national reconciliation, and pledged the world body's help in facilitating the country's ongoing political transition.

Mr. Annan lauded the bravery of the large numbers of Iraqis who exercised their right to vote despite significant attempts at violent disruption, as well as those who supported the process.

"I wish to pay tribute to the courage of the Iraqi people, and to congratulate the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, as well as the thousands of Iraqi election workers and monitors, on having organized and carried out elections so effectively in such a limited timeframe and such daunting circumstances," said the Secretary-General, who is currently in Abuja, Nigeria, where he attended an African summit earlier today.

He also congratulated the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) staff who, with other international electoral experts, worked to support the election. "Security forces, both Iraqi and international, also made a notable contribution to ensuring a relatively safe and secure environment," he observed.

"The success of the election augurs well for the transition process," Mr. Annan declared.

Today's balloting paves the way for Iraq's Transitional National Assembly to draft a permanent constitution which is expected to be put to a referendum in October.

The Secretary-General said that process should be inclusive. "It is important to ensure that all individuals, groups and parties who, for whatever reason, were unable or unwilling to take part in the election are now brought into the constitution-making process," he said.

"This is a time for reconciliation on all sides," he added, welcoming recent statements by a number of Iraqi political leaders indicating their willingness to support this process.

For its part, the UN "stands rea to facilitate vital outreach efforts, and, if invited, to assist the elected TNA in its work of drafting the constitution."

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