BAGHDAD, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The top United Nations envoy in Iraq says the world organization wants credible elections in the nation by the end of January 2005.
"Even though the number of U.N. staff in Iraq is small, the United Nations has been able to fulfill its mandate in relation to the elections," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Ashraf Jehangir Qazi told Iraq's Interim National Council Monday.
The technical support and strategic advice of a dedicated U.N. team of experts have been crucial in enabling the country's Independent Electoral Commission to perform its task of organizing the elections, he said, adding that U.N. experts working with the Commission have also been meeting with various political entities to explain the electoral process.
Qazi said the mandate of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq also includes contributing to the political process. He pointed to a number of meetings he has held with government officials and representatives of political entities to encourage participation in the process, mainly the elections.
Officials in the Iraqi interim government recently have been voicing concerns the elections couldn't be held in time without more U.N. help.