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With Iraqis signing interim constitution, Annan stresses need for national dialogue

8 March 2004 Reacting to news of the signing of an interim constitution by Iraqis today in Baghdad, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed the need for all-encompassing, nationwide discussions that would help boost stability in the country.

A UN spokesman said the Secretary-General took note of today's signing of the law of administration for the transitional period in Iraq, and that Mr. Annan would study the document carefully.

"In this regard, he'll also review the possible role which may be envisaged by the Iraqis for the UN," Fred Eckhard said, adding that the Secretary-General "emphasizes the importance of an inclusive national dialogue and genuine consensus-building among all Iraqis, which will help to promote stability in Iraq as the country moves closer to regaining its sovereignty."

Meanwhile, in a statement to mark International Women's Day, the interim Special Representative for the Secretary General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ross Mountain, said, "Iraq has a proud history of respect for the role of women in all aspects of national life. The efforts of the Governing Council to insure that women are an integral part of the political process reflect a commitment to uphold that legacy."

Iraq's women were responding at many levels to the task of reconstruction that faced the whole country, he said.

"Supporting these women and encouraging others to follow their example must be a common strategy for the future," Mr. Mountain said.

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