Top UN envoy repeats need for all sectors to take part in

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Iraq Ashraf Qazi met with Farouq Abdel Rahman, head of the Iraqi Turkoman Front, Hussein Al-Shahristani, a leading member of the United Iraqi Coalition, and Interim Minister of Planning Mahdi Hafed, the latest in a long line of political, religious, ethnic and tribal leaders he has consulted since almost as soon as the ballot closed on 30 January. Since then he has repeatedly stressed the need for all Iraqis to take part in shaping their country’s future following very low voter turnout in Sunni Arab areas amid boycott calls and ongoing violence. Shiite Muslim Arabs, who voted in large numbers, are estimated to constitute about 60 per cent of the population, while Kurds – who also turned out en masse for the polls – and Sunni Arabs make up about 20 per cent each. Mr. Qazi again emphasized today that the UN will continue to promote a broad-based national dialogue among all Iraqi political powers in implementation of its mandate under Security Council resolution 1546 to promote national dialogue and coordinate international aid to the country. Twenty-three funds, programmes and agencies are working together under the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to support the reconstruction process in the country.

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