Paris, France

27 January 2004

Statement by the Secretary-General on Iraq

At our meeting on 19 January, both the Iraqi Governing Council and the Coalition Provisional Authority asked me to send a technical mission to Iraq to establish whether elections for a transitional national assembly can be held before the transfer of sovereignty on 30 June, and if not, what alternative arrangement would be acceptable.

Since then we have been analyzing the situation and studying the relevant documents. I have concluded that the United Nations can play a constructive role in helping to break the current impasse. Therefore, once I am satisfied that the CPA will provide adequate security arrangements, I will send a mission to Iraq in response to the requests that I received.

The mission will ascertain the views of a broad spectrum of Iraqi society in the search for alternatives that might be developed to move forward to the formation of a provisional government. The mission will report to me on its return to New York.

I have already made clear that in my view there is no single “right way”. I strongly hold to the idea that the most sustainable way forward would be one that came from the Iraqis themselves. Consensus amongst all Iraqi constituencies would be the best guarantee of a legitimate and credible transitional governance arrangement for Iraq.