New Iraqi Government Important Step In Transition
NEW IRAQI GOVERNMENT IS IMPORTANT STEP IN TRANSITION, SAYS UN ENVOY
New York, Apr 28 2005 10:00AM
The top United Nations envoy for Iraq today welcomed the formation of a new government as an important step in the democratic transition and renewed the world body’s pledge of support in tackling the challenges of the coming months, during which a new constitution is to be written and fresh elections held.
“The UN encourages all Iraqis to come together and to make the success of Iraq’s historic transition to a united and prosperous constitutional democracy their highest priority,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi said.
He added that the ground had now been prepared for the constitution making process, which is expected to be completed by 15 August and put to a referendum on 15 October.
Mr. Qazi will represent the United Nations at a two-day meeting of Foreign Ministers from Iraq’s neighbours this week in Istanbul to discuss the latest political developments following the January elections, which elected a transitional National Assembly, and the formation of the new government.
Ever since the elections, when Sunni Arabs largely absented themselves, thus securing little representation in the Assembly which is to draft the new constitution, Mr. Qazi has been stressing the need for full participation by all sectors in the process.
Shiite Arabs, who voted enthusiastically, represent about 60 per cent of the population, while mainly Sunni Kurds, who also turned out en masse, and Sunni Arabs, the dominant political force in the regime of ousted Saddam Hussein, represent about 20 per cent each.