Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced in Paris today that the United Nations will send a team to Iraq to explore the possibility of elections before the transfer of sovereignty as long as the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) provides adequate security arrangements.
His decision comes in response to a request, on 19 January, from both the CPA and the Iraqi Governing Council for a UN technical mission to travel to the country to establish whether elections for a transitional national assembly can be held before 30 June, and if not, what alternative arrangement would be acceptable.
”I have concluded that the United Nations can play a constructive role in helping to break the current impasse,” Mr. Annan said today, pledging to send the requested mission “once I am satisfied that the CPA will provide adequate security arrangements.”
”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,” he added.
The Secretary-General, who has long said that there is no single “right way” to proceed, stressed that “the most sustainable way forward would be one that came from the Iraqis themselves.”
Consensus among all Iraqi constituencies, he emphasized, “would be the best guarantee of a legitimate and credible transitional governance arrangement for Iraq.”
The mission will report to Mr. Annan on its return to New York.