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Annan appalled by series of Baghdad bombings

Secretary-General appalled by series of Baghdad bombings,

Urges Iraqis not to be deterred by violence

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the heightened violence in Iraq, which is overwhelmingly aimed against the civilian population. He is appalled by the latest series of bombings yesterday in Balad that killed more than 90 people and wounded many more, including many women and children, and another serious attack today in Hilla. He strongly condemns these attacks, which appear to have been coordinated so as to kill and injure as many innocent civilians as possible. No cause can justify such acts of terror. The Secretary-General conveys his deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.

The Secretary-General believes that those who refuse to participate in the political process should not, by acts of intimidation and violence, deprive others of their right to do so. He once again urges Iraqis of all persuasions not to be deterred by such violence and to express themselves peacefully through the democratic process, starting with the forthcoming national referendum on the draft permanent constitution. The United Nations remains committed to working with all Iraqi communities and political entities in supporting the peaceful political transition of their country.

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