Press Releases

                            27 August 2004

    Secretary-General Welcomes Efforts to Find Peace in Najaf, Iraq

    NEW YORK, 26 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General welcomes the efforts by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to find a peaceful solution to the situation in the holy city of Najaf, and is encouraged by reports that an agreement to halt the armed hostilities in Najaf has been reached. The Secretary-General calls upon all parties to respect the sanctity of the Imam Ali Mosque, which is one of the holiest shrines for Muslims all over the world. 

    The Secretary-General is greatly dismayed by the violent incidents today in Kufa and other locations in Iraq.  He is particularly troubled by the high toll of dead and wounded, including civilian casualties.

    The Secretary-General expresses concern over the humanitarian situation created as a result of the recent hostilities and reminds all parties of their responsibilities under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to ensure free and unhindered access of medical personnel and humanitarian aid to all areas in need.

    The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations stands ready to assist Iraqis in the transitional political process and calls upon them to resolve their differences through peaceful means.

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