Ban Kimoon voices hope recent Iraq meeting will spur progress on key

“The Secretary-General is encouraged by the discussions held in Baghdad on Saturday in preparation of a meeting of foreign ministers of the countries neighbouring Iraq,” his spokesperson, Michele Montas, said in a statement. Mr. Ban voiced hope that the “positive atmosphere of the meeting,” will carry over into the “activities of the working groups formed on border security, refugees and internally displaced persons and fuel imports.” The Secretary-General sent his Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, to the conference, which was attended not only by Iraq’s neighbours, but also by representatives of the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Through his spokesperson, Mr. Ban reiterated his call for “countries around the region and for the international community more broadly to play a constructive role in support of a stable, secure and democratic Iraq.” Meanwhile, in a report released today, the Secretary-General warns that the “rising levels of violence, terrorist attacks and sectarian conflict that have gripped large parts of Iraq are increasingly acquiring a self-sustaining dynamic that could overwhelm the country’s fragile political processes and institutions.” The report on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) describes its work in support of the country’s political process, but warns that “if the cycle of violence is not brought under control, efforts made over the past several years could be jeopardized.” The report echoes Mr. Ban’s statement today stressing the importance of dialogue with Iraq’s neighbours, while pointing out that only the country’s “people themselves can determine their common destiny and agree upon the structure of the Iraqi state.” 12 March 2007Welcoming a recent diplomatic meeting on Iraq, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced hope that it would spur progress on key issues, including those affecting its neighbours, which he said must play a constructive role in promoting stability in the country. read more