UN envoy stresses importance of engaging Iraqis in constitution drafting process
2 May 2005 – With senior officials from Iraq’s neighbouring countries gathered for a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, the top United Nations Envoy for Iraq has stressed the importance of a constitution-drafting process that engages the Iraqi population in the final outcome.
Addressing the eighth meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the countries neighbouring Iraq, convened to assess the situation following the recent general elections there, Ashraf Qazi, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), stressed that improved security in the country needed a broad-based approach in which increased Iraqi security capacity was matched by progress in other areas, notably political outreach, public services, greater employment opportunities and development of local institutions.
The two-day meeting, held over the weekend in the Turkish capital, brought together representatives from Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria as well as Bahrain, Egypt, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab League and the European Commission.
In his address, Mr. Qazi welcomed the continued engagement of the neighbouring states as a key support for Iraq in the coming phase of its political transition. He also updated the conference on UNAMI’s expanded activities, including the establishment of liaison offices in Erbil in the north and Basrah in the south, and its role in coordinating donor assistance both in regard to the constitutional process and support for reconstruction.
Meanwhile, in the Conference’s final communiqué, the ministers stressed the pivotal role the UN should play in the new phase, welcomed the increasing presence of UN staff in Iraq and called for the world body to establish itself more broadly in monitoring and assisting the political process and economic rehabilitation.
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