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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq: UN envoy meets Communist Party leader

13 June On his fifth consecutive day of consultations with Iraqi political leaders, United Nations envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello met today with Communist Party Secretary-General Hamid Majid Musa, who told him his party always believed there was an essential role for the UN in Iraq, both before the war and after.

The two discussed the current transition and explored how to advance the political process. Mr. Vieira de Mello, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, stressed the importance of the role of women in peace, reconciliation and development, and Mr. Musa agreed that they should be given a greater role in the new Iraq.

Tomorrow, Mr. Vieira de Mello is set to travel to Basra to kick-off his visits to the provinces. In Basra, he will meet with political figures and representatives of civil society. He will also visit a UN Quick Impact Project and meet the staff of UN agencies operating in this southern region.

On the humanitarian front, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned today that the situation in Baghdad was "ripe for exploitation of children" following a flurry of news reports indicating an increase in the number of children on the streets of the capital.

In the chaos of the post-war environment, UNICEF said, normal community networks for the protection of children were not fully functioning, and the agency strongly supported getting all Iraqi children back to school as a way of protecting them from exploitation and injury.

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