- Title: IRAQ: UNITED NATIONS ENVOY TO IRAQ ASHRAF QAZI HAILS IRAQ'S ELECTIONS
- Date: 8th February 2005
- Summary: (BN08) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (FEBRUARY 6, 2005)(REUTERS) 1. EXTERIOR OF U.N. HEADQUARTERS INSIDE FORTIFIED GREEN ZONE COMPOUND 2. MV U.N. ENVOY TO IRAQ ASHRAF QAZI SEATED WITH CORRESPONDENT; SCU U.N. FLAG 3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QAZI SAYING: "These elections have been unexpectedly successful and very, very good. It doesn't mean that everybody had participated equally and it doesn't mean that there isn't room for more inclusiveness, it does not mean that our outreach efforts are not necessary, in fact they are but the elections have so obviously been, you know, people obviously showed willingness, the crowds coming out with enthusiasm in which they participated and actually braved the dangers that confronted them. I think that those who have registered not only with people outside, but also with Iraqis in all persuasions, even those who had, for their own reasons, not participated , I think, to that extent it is probably brought about an ambience in which there is a greater disposition to sit and talk to each others." 4. JOURNALIST'S NOTES 5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QAZI, SAYING: "There is a general widespread desire, indeed demand, from those quarters which didn't take part in the elections to take part in the constitution-making process, even if some of them indicate some reluctance with respect to the government, but these are early days and discussions are going to take place and we will be at their service to facilitate these discussions." 6. QAZI TALKING TO CORRESPONDENT 7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QAZI, SAYING: "There is a recognition that respectable of whether people took part in the elections or did not take part, are represented in the transitional National Assembly or not represented in the National Assembly, that the constitution-making process needs to be inclusive and to include those elements, and I think that there's almost a consensus on this to be found in Iraq." 6. U.N. FLAG 7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) QAZI, SAYING: "Our presence here in terms of numbers has to be dictated by the security environment because of what happened in the past and because of the obvious dangers on different, that the U.N. have been specifically targeted in the past, and while there is a great room and scope, you know, for an increase, an actual increase on the ground in the terms of number would have always take into consideration the security situation." 8. QAZI TALKING TO CORRESPONDENT 2.36 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 23rd February 2005 12:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA3TY1QFZERY9EYCV6346R20L3R
- Story Text: U.N. envoy hails Iraq's elections as "unexpectedly
The U.N. envoy to Iraq on Sunday (February 6, 2005) hailed
Iraq's elections as "unexpectedly successful" but stopped
short of endorsing a poll shunned by many in the Sunni Arab
minority and in which votes are still being counted.
A week after millions of Iraqis braved insurgent
threats to cast their ballots, U.N. special envoy Ashraf
Qazi also said there are signs that all parties will
participate in creating a new constitution even if they
were not in the government.
"These elections have been unexpectedly successful and very, very
good," Qazi, formerly Pakistan's ambassador to
the United States, told Reuters in an interview at his
fortified compound inside Baghdad's Green Zone.
"It doesn't mean that everybody had participated
equally and it doesn't mean that there isn't room for more
inclusiveness but it's brought about an ambience in
which there is a greater disposition to talk to one
In the months before the vote and in the week since,
Qazi has been involved in intense discussions with Iraqis
from across the political spectrum, first urging their
participation in the election and now in the post-electoral
Many Sunni Arab parties and organisations boycotted the
vote, saying it couldn't be acceptable as long as U.S.
troops remained on Iraqi soil and as long as violence was
tearing largely Sunni areas of the country apart.
Since the successful poll, however, some of those
groups have moderated their positions, realising it
benefits them to be involved in a process embraced by a
large proportion of Iraqis.
Others, such as the Muslim Clerics' Association, a
group of conservative Sunni scholars, remain opposed to any
government formed on the back of the election, which is
widely expected to have been won by a coalition led by
But even factions like the Clerics' Association are
showing a desire to be involved in writing the
constitution, a crucial next step in Iraq's transition to
democracy and probably the most important task facing the
"There is a general widespread desire, indeed demand,
from those quarters which didn't take part in the elections
to take part in the constitution-making process, even if
some of them indicate some reluctance with respect to the
government, but these are early days and discussions are
going to take place and we will be at their service to
facilitate these discussions," Qazi said.
"There is a recognition ... that the
constitution-making process needs to be inclusive and to
include those elements, and there's almost a consensus on
this in Iraq."
Setting up a body to draft the document will be the
first item on the agenda of the National Assembly, the
275-seat body voted for last Sunday, after it has formed a
The document must be written by mid-August and put to a
referendum by mid-October, before Iraqis again go to the
polls for an election under the new constitution in
Already there is strong debate about how much
recognition the constitution should give to Islamic
(Sharia) law, with tension developing between Iraq's
secular and religious
traditions, as well as between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
Qazi said he hoped the U.N., bolstered by the
successful role it played in organising last week's
historic election, would also play a part in helping draft
While the U.N., which withdrew its staff from Iraq
after the bombing of its headquarters in August 2003, may
not be ready to increase numbers in the country, it does
hope to gain leverage after successfully pulling off the
"Our presence here in terms of numbers always has to
be dictated by the security environment, but there is great
room and scope for an increase," Qazi said.
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