Press Releases

    SG/SM/9151
    IK/421
    10 February 2004

    Secretary-General Announces Fact-Finding Team Has Arrived in Baghdad

    NEW YORK, 9 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan was issued by the Spokesman on 7 February:

    I am very pleased to announce that my fact-finding team has now arrived in Baghdad and is about to begin intensive consultations with Iraqi leaders and the Coalition Provisional Authority.  The United Nations team will endeavour to meet with representatives of all constituencies and listen to all Iraqi views and perspectives, without excluding any.  I hope the work of this team will help resolve the impasse over the transitional political process leading to the establishment of a provisional government for Iraq.

    I firmly believe that the most sustainable way forward is one that comes from the Iraqis themselves. Consensus amongst all Iraqi constituencies is the best guarantee of a legitimate and credible transitional governance arrangement for Iraq.

    As stressed in previous Security Council resolutions and my own reports to the Security Council, the United Nations is committed to help reestablishing Iraq sovereignty as soon as possible and to maintaining its territorial integrity. The United Nations strongly upholds the principle of the right of the Iraqi people freely to determine their political future and control their natural resources.

    I encourage efforts by the people of Iraq to form an Iraqi government based on the rule of law that affords equal rights and justice to all Iraqi citizens without regard to ethnicity, religion or gender.  I also remain committed to all efforts aimed at the promotion and protection of all the human rights of the Iraqi people.  The United Nations will offer whatever help it can to support the right of the Iraqi people to chart their own destiny and to live in peace, with respect and dignity.

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