I am in Brussels to join the representatives of more than 80 governments and institutions meeting to send a loud and clear message of support for the political transition in Iraq. A year ago, Resolution 1546 of the Security Council set out the time table that Iraq was expected to fulfill. Today, the Brussels conference aims at recalling that the international community supports Iraq and is aware of its advances, in spite of all the difficulties faced.
As scheduled, elections were held in January and, three months later, the Transitional National Assembly endorsed the transitional government. The dominant parties began their debates without excluding anyone and opened themselves to the Sunni parties. Currently, those parties are engaged in the process of drafting of a Constitution that should be approved in a referendum. The UN works so that all Iraqis are represented in the drafting process and so that the August 15 deadline is respected. Certainly, there will be delays and setbacks, but we must not forget that the Iraqis are debating all the aspects of their political future. The UN can help them do it.
The United Nations has responded promptly and with resolution to the call of the Iraqis and there are currently 800 UN personnel working in Iraq. But our efforts and victories take place away from the cameras. The success or failure of the UN work to help the Iraqis will depend largely on the Iraqis themselves. Only they can write a Constitution that is fair and inclusive. The commitment of the different groups of the Iraqi population that will serve as a foundation for the Constitution will be as important as the text itself. The United Nations, through my special representative, Ashraf Qazi, is facilitating the delicate task of opening the political process to all Iraqi groups.
Of course, there are those who want to exacerbate tensions among ethnic groups and prevent the emergence of a democratic, pluralist and stable Iraq. Those people seek to capitalize on the serious difficulties faced by the Iraqi population and to exploit popular anger and resentment to promote hatred and violence. It is not enough to strengthen security measures. It is necessary to create an institutional framework that allows all Iraqis understand that they will all win in the new Iraq.
It is also important that Iraq assumes its tortuous past and to re-organize its infrastructure and public services. The UN can also be useful in that respect. The Iraqi people continue to endure a painful and difficult transition and they still have a long way to go. The United Nations is privileged and determined to walk it with them. Thus, it is not only helping the Iraqi people but all those who hope that the heart of the Middle East be built in a democratic, peaceful and stable Iraq.
Gulf News is the main newspaper devoted to the entire Persian Gulf . Circulation: more than 90,000 editions. Edited in Dubai in English, it is read largely by the important foreigner community residing in the region.
Washington Post (United States)
Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.
Korea Herald (South Korea)
“There’s Progress in Iraq”, by Kofi Annan, Washington Post, June 20, 2005.
“L’ONU en Irak: beaucoup de travail, peu de bruit”, Le Figaro, June 22, 2005.
“Progress made in Iraq transition”, Korea Herald, June 23, 2005.
“There’s progress in Iraq, but the road ahead is tough”, Gulf News, June 23, 2005.