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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

5 days before Iraqi poll, UN envoy reviews steps to ensure fairness, transparency

25 January 2005 ? With five days to go until Iraqis vote for a national assembly that will appoint a new provisional government, write a constitution and organize definitive elections by the end of the year, the top United Nations envoy in the country today reviewed measures aimed at holding a fair and transparent poll.

The world body, which has been providing technical support and strategic advice, "is proud to have been able to assist the commission," Ashraf Qazi, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, told the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq in a meeting at its Baghdad headquarters.

The Commission has the sole authority in organizing and conducting the elections on Sunday, and a team of UN experts have played a leading role in ensuring that it gets all the technical support and training it needs.

Mr. Qazi also met with Interim Vice President Ibrahim Ja'fari for talks on the political and security conditions and efforts to ensure an environment conducive for holding the elections.

Earlier, he held talks with the President of the Iraqi Council for Peace and Solidarity, Fakhri Kareem, and discussed efforts to ensure the participation of all Iraqis in the political process.

He also met with former Iraqi Prime Minister Naji Taleb, and stressed that the UN will continue to stand by the Iraqi people and provide them with every possible support to ensure the success of the political and reconstruction processes.

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