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

 


UN Envoy Meets With Iraq's Top Shiite Cleric


Seeking Political Inclusiveness, UN Envoy Meets With Iraq's Top Shiite Cleric

The senior United Nations envoy for Iraq has met with the country's top Shiite Muslim cleric as he begins his ninth week of intensive consultations to ensure that all elements of Iraqi society take part in writing a new constitution after Sunni Arabs largely stayed away from January's elections.

In his talks yesterday with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi discussed means of furthering national reconciliation among Iraq's different political constituencies and stressed the importance of increasing mutual confidence through dialogue.

"Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani told me he was a religious man and not a political one and he did not get involved except when necessary, particularly during periods of crisis," Mr. Qazi told reporters afterwards, adding that he had come to seek the cleric's advice.

Hardly a day has gone by since the 30 January elections for the Transitional National Assembly, which will write the new constitution and organize fresh elections, that the envoy has not met with one sector or other in an effort to forge an inclusive process for the country's political transition - often with several parties on the same day.

By not voting in the elections, either due to boycott calls, intimidation or fear of violence, Sunni Arabs have very little presence in the Assembly. Shiite Arabs, who voted enthusiastically, represent about 60 per cent of the electorate, while Sunni Arabs and mainly Sunni Kurds, who also turned out en masse, represent about 20 per cent each.

>From Mr. Annan downwards, UN officials have been stressing the absolute need for all sectors be brought into the next stage, including writing the constitution.

"Failure to engage in a national dialogue and reconciliation could bring strife far more damaging that the compromises necessary for reaching a national consensus achieved through peaceful means," the Secretary-General warned in his latest report on Iraq released earlier this month.

"It will be important that the new Iraqi leadership signal clearly that all Iraqis will have the opportunity, and are encouraged, to participate fully in the process," he added.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

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>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

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>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news