13 February 2004
Secretary-General Briefed on Iraq Talks by Special Adviser
NEW YORK, 12 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General has been briefed regularly by his Special Adviser, Lakhdar Brahimi, on his talks in Iraq, including todays meeting in Najaf with Grand Ayatollah Sistani and on the progress of the United Nations Fact-Finding Team. The Team has had contact with a wide range of Iraqi opinion, and has been listening to the views expressed by Iraqis on the best means of effecting a peaceful and stable transition.
The Secretary-General understands that there is a consensus emerging from the Teams contacts that direct national elections are the best way to establish a parliament and government in Iraq that are fully representative and legitimate. At the same time, there is wide agreement that elections must be carefully prepared, and that they must be organized in technical, security and political conditions that give the best chance of producing a result that reflects the wishes of the Iraqi electorate and thus contributes to long-term peace and stability in Iraq.
The Secretary-General will be briefed fully next week when Mr. Brahimi returns to New York, after participating in the meeting in Kuwait this weekend of Foreign Ministers of States bordering Iraq, and of Egypt.
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