Decrying violence in Iraq, UN envoy urges national dialogue, international support

Amb. Ashraf Qazi

25 November 2006 – Continuing his denunciation of terrorist attacks in Iraq, the senior United Nations envoy to the country today called them 'a cancer in its body politic,' urged the country's people and leaders to hold a genuine national dialogue, and stressed that the international community must help at this critical time.

Ashraf Qazi reiterated his deep outrage at the carnage wrought by a series of terrorist car bombing in Sadr City on Thursday, “which caused the loss of more than 200 innocent lives, including women and children, and an even greater number of seriously wounded and subsequent acts of revenge.”

In a statement released in Baghdad, he said these tragic incidents “occurred in the context of an increasingly vicious cycle of sectarian revenge killings that is tearing apart the very political and social fabric of Iraq,” adding: “No country could tolerate such a cancer in its body politic.”

Mr. Qazi called on the Government, the political leadership and the people of Iraq “to realize that they had no choice but to immediately demonstrate their urgent and sincere determination to save their country.” He said this could only be done through a genuine national dialogue aimed at resolving key political issues and developing a national consensus in support of policies and measures to prevent extremists from destroying Iraq.

“Otherwise,” he warned, “Iraq would continue to descend into a civil war-like situation and its people would become the victims of an unprecedented human rights catastrophe.”

Mr. Qazi also called on the international community, especially Iraq's neighbors, to join their efforts to enable the government and people of Iraq to successfully address the dire challenges of violence, mistrust and division that currently threaten to overwhelm them. “No neighbor, no regional country, and no member of the international community would gain from the current tragedy in Iraq,” he said, asserting that they have “an equal obligation to come to the assistance of Iraq in its hour of peril.”

Mr. Qazi said, circumstances permitting, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) would always be ready to play any part that was asked of it to help halt and reverse the current trends, assist the victims of violence and forcible displacement and facilitate the strengthening of human rights protection systems in Iraq.

Enabling the Government of Iraq to become a real government of national unity was the only way to help Iraq at this critical time, he said, calling this an “an urgent international priority.”

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