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Iraq: Top UN Envoy Seeks Political Inclusiveness

No Respite For Top UN Envoy In Iraq As He Seeks Political Inclusiveness

Continuing his talks across the full political spectrum of Iraqi politics, the top United Nations envoy in the country today met with the man who had sought to be candidate for prime minister of the coalition that won a majority in national elections last month.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi discussed political developments ahead of the convening of the Transitional National Assembly with Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Conference and member of the United Iraqi Coalition.

Earlier this week Mr. Chalabi withdrew from the race to be the Shiite Arab coalition's candidate in favour of Interim Vice-President Ibrahim Ja'fari, with whom Mr. Qazi held talks yesterday. The meetings seek to promote national dialogue and discuss ways through which the UN can further contribute to advancing the political process.

Mr. Qazi has repeatedly stressed the need for all Iraqis to take part in shaping their country's future following very low voter turnout by Sunni Arab in the 30 January elections for the Assembly, whose principle task will be the writing of a new constitution.

Shiite Muslim Arabs, who voted in large numbers, are estimated to constitute about 60 per cent of the population, while Kurds - who also turned out en masse for the polls - and Sunni Arabs make up about 20 per cent each.

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