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UN Envoy Welcomes Al-Sadr Ceasefire Extension

Iraq: Top UN envoy welcomes al-Sadr ceasefire extension

22 February 2008 - The United Nations' top envoy to Iraq today welcomed the decision of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr to prolong the suspension of the armed activities of his Jaysh ul Mehdi militia, also known as the Mahdi Army.

Staffan de Mistura, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said he hoped the additional six-month suspension "would help sustain the reduction of violence and reinforce progress towards national dialogue and reconciliation," according to a statement issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

Mr. de Mistura also appealed to all Iraqi parties to engage in a constructive dialogue and take mutual confidence-building measures.

In his most recent report on Iraq, Secretary-General Ban said that an extension of the ceasefire was a crucial element in the effort to continue reducing the level of violence in the strife-torn country.

ENDS

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