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Failure Of Iraq Parliament To Pass Electoral Law

UN mission in Iraq 'regrets' failure of parliament to pass an electoral law

7 August 2008 - The United Nations Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) says it regrets that an opportunity was missed yesterday when the country's parliament adjourned without reaching agreement on a new provincial elections law.

Last week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned in his quarterly report on Iraq that, unless a new electoral law was passed in time, Iraqis would be deprived of the chance to vote this year, which he said could alienate various communities in the country.

In today's statement, UNAMI says it hopes that the Iraqi leaders will reach an agreement on outstanding issues through dialogue as soon as possible to enable elections, adding that this was the wish of the vast majority of the Iraqi people.

UNAMI stresses it has been doing all it can to encourage the Iraqis to reach a compromise so that election preparations can move forward as soon as possible.

It says that it stands ready to continue to assist the parties in finding an agreement through the work of the parliamentary committee, as requested by the Iraqi parliament.

Briefing the Security Council yesterday on Mr. Ban's report, B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, warned that the security situation remained fragile and any recent gains could be lost unless they are consolidated with political progress.

"Efforts must now focus on achieving the political gains necessary to build trust and confidence across community lines, and to improve the quality of life for all Iraqis, including the delivery of basic services and generating employment," he said.

The situation in the city of Kirkuk had also become more tense and violent in the past week, he reported, in part because of the discord over the proposed electoral laws.

Mr. Pascoe stressed that the bloodshed illustrated "how the lack of dialogue and compromise could easily lead to renewed violence."

In a related development today, the Security Council voted to extend the mandate of UNAMI for another year.

After the vote, this month's President of the Council, Belgium's Permanent Representative Jan K.F. Grauls, told reporters in New York that it was an important decision at an important moment.

"The security situation in Iraq is improving and the UN is playing a very important role in the political process in Iraq...so this was a good day I think for Iraq. It shows the support of the international community for what they are doing."

ENDS

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