16 June 2005
United Nations Urges Continued International Support for Iraq
Political transition process in a decisive phase, U.N. officials say
By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- Iraq's political transition process has entered a decisive phase that requires the support of all Iraqis and the international community, top U.N. officials say.
Briefing the Security Council June 16, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Turk said, "in order for the transition to succeed, advances in the political process will need to be complemented by tangible improvements in the reconstruction, development, and humanitarian area. After so many years of deprivation, Iraqi citizens are now looking to their leaders to deliver the dividends of their vote in terns of basic services, employment, and living conditions."
"Two years after the demise of the former regime, it is also imperative for the new government, with the support of the international community, to deliver the basic services effectively and to do more to promote the rule of law and respect for human rights situation so that all Iraqis can live free from fear and in dignity," he said.
Turk said that the upcoming international conference on Iraq in Brussels, Belgium, on June 22 provides "a new opportunity for the international community to widen and deepen consensus in support to Iraq's transition and the role of the United Nations."
From both inside and outside Iraq, he said, "there is no shortage of financial resources, advice, expertise and goodwill to support the Iraqi people in their historic endeavor. Both Iraq and the international community have no option but to succeed: it behooves all concerned -- the new Iraqi Government, the Multinational Force, this Council and the United Nations -- to rise to our shared responsibility."
The assistant secretary-general also emphasized the importance of including all segments of Iraqi society in the current phase of the political process -- the drafting of a new constitution, which is to be completed by August 15.
The experience of the United Nations around the world has "demonstrated that national reconciliation requires a constructive relationship between the majority in power and political minorities," Turk said. "Democratic processes are most successful when the majority allows minorities the full exercise of their political rights ... . On the other hand, political minorities have an equal responsibility to contribute to the democratic process and support the national reconstruction effort."
Extremely troubling is the fact that sectarian rivalries are fueling much of the violence with innocent Iraqi civilians bearing the brunt of the violence, he said.
Turk said the United Nations is determined to help Iraq through its political transition and economic reconstruction, but the U.N. Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), despite help from the Multinational Force, is severely constrained because of the security situation.
UNAMI is currently working with Iraqi authorities on the writing of the new constitution and arranging for the referendum that will follow.
In a statement issued by his spokesman June 16, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the Iraqi agreement to expand the committee drafting the constitution to be more inclusive of the Sunni Arab community.
"The secretary general hopes that the people of Iraq will seize this historic opportunity to pursue a constitutional process that is responsive to the key demands of all Iraqi political constituencies and that every effort will be made to complete the drafting of the constitution in accordance with the agreed timetable," the statement said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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