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Wrapping up his tour of duty, top UN official in Iraq pays farewell visit to north

19 September 2007 Wrapping up his three-year term as the top United Nations envoy in Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi has completed a tour of the northern region of the strife-torn country, assuring Kurdish leaders there of continued UN cooperation and consultation.

Mr. Qazi, who has been named as the chief UN officer for Sudan and will be succeeded in Iraq by Staffan de Mistura, a veteran UN Middle East envoy, held talks with Kurdistan President Massoud Al-Barzani and Vice President Qosrat Rasul Ali, as well as Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh and other regional officials.

He reiterated UN commitments to Iraq and assured them that Mr. de Mistura would show “the same spirit of cooperation and consultation,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a news release.

Mr. Qazi visited the Kalawa camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sulemaniya, and listened to the grievances of the camp residents, promising to raise their concerns with the proper national and regional authorities and set in motion available UN programmes for lessening their hardship.

He also spoke at the Sulemaniya Public Library before a large group of notables, highlighting his experience in Iraq and clarifying any misconception around an expanded UN role in the country.

Last month, the Security Council adopted resolution 1770 extending and expanding UNAMI’s mandate, including the promotion of national dialogue and reconciliation.

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