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Secretary-General Welcomes Iraqi Poll Results

Secretary-General Welcomes Iraqi Poll Results, Pledges Continued UN Involvement

Secretary General Kofi Annan today welcomed the announcement of the results of Iraq's elections, in which the United Nations played an advisory and technical role, reiterating the world body's commitment to play a full part in the next stages in the transition including a referendum on a new constitution.

"They reflect not only the courage and determination of the Iraqi people, but also their commitment to the political transition process that their country is undergoing," Mr. Annan said of the results in a statement issued by his spokesman, calling it an "auspicious day" for the Iraqi people.

"With the successful completion of this important stage in the transition, the Secretary-General calls upon all Iraqis to come together in a spirit of national reconciliation to move their country forward towards a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future," the statement added, urging that every effort be made to ensure full participation by mainly Sunni Arabs, who did not or could not take part in the elections.

Sunnis stayed away in large numbers either due to a boycott called by their leaders or security concerns. Mr. Annan said they must be encouraged to participate fully in the next stages leading to the adoption of a national constitution with the broadest possible support.

"The United Nations is deeply committed to playing a full part in the next stage in the transition, as well as to helping with the subsequent referendum and general election," he added of the vote scheduled for October to approve a new constitution as well as a new presidential and legislative poll set for the end of the year.

"The United Nations will spare no efforts to meet the expectations of the Iraqi people through this critical period of their country's history," he concluded.

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