Press Releases

                16 August 2004

    Secretary-General Deeply Saddened by Iraq Violence, Says UN Ready to Help Resolve Current Crisis

    NEW YORK, 13 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the violence that has broken out in Iraq, particularly the situation in the holy city of Najaf.  He is especially concerned about reports on the condition of Said Moqtada Al-Sadr. The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to all concerned to show the utmost restraint in these difficult circumstances. The Secretary-General has made clear his position that force should always be a last resort. The United Nations is dedicated to the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes.

    The Secretary-General believes that stability ought to be sought through dialogue, reconciliation and on the basis of negotiation rather than violence. The Secretary-General continues to attach great importance to the establishment of the widest possible consensus among Iraqis in support of a peaceful political transition. The United Nations remains committed to doing everything possible to assist the Iraqi people to that end, and stands ready to extend its facilitating role in helping to resolve the current crisis, if this would be helpful.

    The Secretary-General believes that all of us want to see Iraq become a civil society, based on the rule of law. The dismantling of all militias would be an important step in that direction.

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