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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-322093 Annan / Iraq Vote (L-O)
DATE:>
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=1/28/2005

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=ANNAN/IRAQ VOTE (L-O)

NUMBER=2-322093

BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN

DATELINE=UNITED NATIONS

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

HEADLINE: UN Urges Iraqis to Vote

INTRO: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is urging all Iraqis to vote in Sunday's election, calling it a "crucial first step" toward stability. VOA's Peter Heinlein reports from U.N. headquarters in New York.

TEXT: In a taped message to the Iraqi people, Secretary-General Annan said elections offer the best way to determine the country's future. He urged Iraq's 14 million elgible voters to put aside the past and look to the future.

///ANNAN ACT///

"Whatever your feelings about how the country reached this point, this election offers an opportunity to move away from violence and uncertainty toward peace and representative government."

///END ACT///

The secretary-general also spoke directly to insurgents trying to prevent the voting.

///ANNAN ACT 2///

"To those who seek to disrupt the democratic process, let me say there can never be justification for murder and intimidation of voters, candidates and election workers. Don't deny Iraqis who choose to vote their right to do so in freedom and safety."

///END ACT///

Mr. Annan has been slow to re-deploy international staff to Iraq after the August, 2003 attacks on U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. The number of U.N. workers helping in election preparations was limited to a few dozen. But the secretary-general pledged the world body would offer more help after the election.

///ANNAN ACT 3///

"After these elections you will need a national dialogue and an inclusive political process in which as many Iraqis as possible play an active part. The United Nations will do whatever it can to help you succeed on election day and afterwards."

///END ACT///

Mr. Annan's taped message was released as he flew to Abuja, Nigeria for an African Union summit. A spokesman said there are no immediate plans to expand the U.N. presence in Iraq. (Signed)

NEB/NY/PFH/RH/FC



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