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UN officials welcome formation of Iraq's new Govt

UN officials welcome formation of Iraq's new Government

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and his senior envoy to Iraq today welcomed the announcement of the formation of the new Iraqi Government, and urged that the process be completed in order to consolidate stability.

“The Secretary-General wishes the new Government every success in confronting the enormous challenges facing Iraq,” a spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement released in New York. “He hopes that the process of forming a broad-based and inclusive government will be completed as soon as possible, so that it will be able to quickly address the crucial issues of national reconciliation, security, the rule of law, respect for human rights, reconstruction and development.”

The Secretary-General also paid tribute to the “courage and determination that the Iraqi people have shown despite the ongoing violence,” urging them to seize the opportunity offered by the successful establishment of a broad-based and inclusive Government, and come together to support it and build the foundations of a united, peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

He reiterated the UN's commitment “to fully support the new Government and the people of Iraq,” a pledge echoed by his Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi.

In a statement released in Baghdad, Mr. Qazi voiced hope that all outstanding elements in the process of forming a broad-based and inclusive Government would be finished as soon as possible, urging Iraq's political leaders to reach a speedy conclusion to this phase of the political process in order to help enable the country to tackle the many problems facing it.

Filling the remaining posts was a critical part in ensuring a stable and coherent Government, he stressed, extending to Prime Minister Nuri Al-Mailiki the UN's fullest support “in building the capacity of the new administration and encouraging a positive political discourse on national reconciliation and the constitutional review process.”

Mr. Qazi said that the challenges facing the new Government, though daunting, were manageable if Iraq's political, religious and communal leaders concentrated on upholding Iraq's unity, stability while reducing the level of violence throughout the country.

In his discussions with those involved in the Government formation, the envoy repeatedly urged them to use the process to achieve a fresh start. He voiced hope that this would demonstrate that the Government “wanted to undertake a major reconstruction of Iraq's political and social fabric to the benefit of citizens and neighbours alike.”

In addition, he said he hoped Iraq would “enjoy the trust and material support from investors inside and outside Iraq which it urgently needed in fulfilling its programme.”

Mr. Qazi urged the incoming Government to take advantage of its new term of office to demonstrate its commitment to the highest international standards in promoting human rights, the rule of law and upholding the integrity of public administration.

“Iraq's citizens deserve nothing less and have every right to expect that competent, transparent government would yield improvements both in terms of public security and in the delivery of public services,” he said.

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