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Top UN Envoy Renews Support For Iraqi Elections


In New Year's Message, Top UN Envoy Renews Support For Iraqi Elections

As Iraq moves into high gear for elections in just one month's time, the top United Nations there today delivered a New Year message pledging the world body's continued support "to help foster the future peace and prosperity" of all the war-torn country's peoples.

"At this critical juncture in Iraq's history it is my firm belief that the Iraqi people have the capacity and self-confidence to forge a future for themselves in which they can enjoy the fruits of new-found peace, mutual respect, tolerance and the promotion of human rights," Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi said.

"The United Nations attaches the greatest importance to fostering a political climate in Iraq in which Iraqis will be able to participate in free and fair elections, resulting in the successful election of a government that commands the widest possible support and confidence of the Iraqi people," he added.

"The determination of Iraqis from all walks of life to exercise their political rights has been one of the most encouraging developments in recent months."

Stressing that despite the reservations Iraq's various communities may have, elections are always the best option, Mr. Qazi declared: "We remain confident that the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, established with the assistance of the United Nations, has the capacity to oversee elections fairly."

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