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Conditions, Constitution Are Key to Iraq Transit'n

Improved Conditions, Credible Constitution Are Keys to Iraq Transition – Annan

New York, Jun 10 2005 4:00PM

Successful completion of the political transition in Iraq requires real progress in the security and living conditions of all Iraqis, as well as a constitutional process that is credible to all groups, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report.

"Every effort must be made to alleviate the daily deprivations and dangers that degrade the lives of so many Iraqis and contribute to filling the ranks of the disaffected," he says in his latest report to the Security Council.

To that end, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), in close cooperation with the UN country team, has taken a lead role in the reconstruction, development and the delivery of humanitarian assistance. It also stands ready to serve as a facilitator for donor coordination on development issues, the Secretary-General says.

The drafting of a national constitution over the coming months provides a historic opportunity for Iraqis to come together, he continues. To serve that purpose, however, it must be an inclusive process.

"The more the Transitional National Assembly engages in outreach to Iraq's key constituencies and the more responsive it is to their views and concerns, the more effective it will be in producing a Constitution that all Iraqis will consider their own," he says, urging the Assembly to increase its efforts to find a formula for wide participation.

According to the Secretary-General's report, the UN Mission's Office of Constitutional Support, headed by Nicholas Haysom, is engaged with key members of the Iraqi Transitional Government. In the coming months, the UN will further increase its efforts in the constitutional project.

The United Nations is equally committed to continue its role supporting the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq in preparation for the planned constitutional referendum, slated to occur by 15 October, as well as for the next elections, which are planned before 15 December. In addition, the United Nations stands ready to assist in drafting new legislation related to the elections, including a referendum law, the report says.

Despite such political activity, Mr. Annan says that the volatile security situation remains a formidable challenge to the transition process. Stabilizing the country requires security sector reform that included continued training and the assurance of armed forces that reflected the diversity of Iraq's population.

In addition, he says, reports of alleged human rights abuses by all sides need to be taken seriously. "In the wake of the recent large-scale offensives in different parts of the country, I call again upon all parties to strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law," he says.

While assuring UN support in all areas of assistance, the Secretary-General reiterates that the continued lack of a secure environment continues to severely limit the ability of the UN Mission to implement its mandate fully, and exposes its staff to considerable risk.

ENDS

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