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Iraq: UN Envoy Continues Wide-Ranging Meetings

Iraq: UN Envoy Continues Wide-Ranging Meetings Ahead Of This Month's Elections

New York, Dec 1 2005

In his continuing efforts to assist the political transition in Iraq, the senior United Nations envoy in the country today met with Vice President Ghazi El-Yawar to discuss the elections scheduled in two weeks' time.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Qazi and the Vice President both agreed that a robust presence of international observers to monitor the elections would help to enhance the credibility of the process.

They also explored areas of cooperation to ensure the success of the reconciliation conference planned for late February or early March. Mr. Qazi has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the political transition following the war that ousted Saddam Hussein be as inclusive as possible of the country's diverse population.

Shiites and Kurds, who dominate the present transitional government, represent about 60 per cent and 20 per cent of the population respectively. Sunni Arabs, who were the dominant political force in Saddam's ousted regime and have largely stayed away from the current political process, represent another 20 per cent. The Kurds have enjoyed autonomy in their northern region since the first Persian Gulf War in 1991.

In a related development, Mr. Qazi attended the closing ceremony of the training on "Monitoring Skills" of the Ministry of Human Rights' Monitoring Section, which regularly visits detention facilities. The training was organized by the Human Rights Office of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) through the generosity of the Swiss Confederation.

"Monitoring the conditions of detention lies at the core of awareness and therefore at the heart of remedial action," Mr. Qazi said.

ENDS

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