SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTREMELY CONCERNED BY WIDESPREAD FIGHTING IN IRAQ, OFFERS UN HELP IN CURRENT CRISIS

9 August 2004
SG/SM/9443-IK/451

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTREMELY CONCERNED BY WIDESPREAD FIGHTING IN IRAQ, OFFERS UN HELP IN CURRENT CRISIS

09/08/2004
Press Release
SG/SM/9443
IK/451

SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTREMELY CONCERNED BY WIDESPREAD FIGHTING


IN IRAQ, OFFERS UN HELP IN CURRENT CRISIS


The following statement was issued Saturday, 7 August, by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General is extremely concerned at the widespread fighting that has broken out in Iraq over the last several days, especially in the holy city of Najaf.  He is particularly troubled by the high toll of dead and wounded, including civilian casualties.


The Secretary-General believes that, in such a situation, force should be a last resort.  He calls for every effort to be made, even at this late hour, to work out a ceasefire and peaceful solution.


The United Nations is helping with the preparations for the National Conference, due to begin in mid-August.  In the Secretary-General’s view, the Conference can be an important step in a peaceful and inclusive political transition, by promoting national reconciliation and dialogue.  The United Nations is ready to extend its facilitating role to the current crisis, if this would be helpful.


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Allawi’s offer today of a limited amnesty and wider participation in the political process are steps in the right direction.


* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.