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U.N. uncouraging Iraqi national dialogue

Feb. 22, 2005 at 4:32 PM

BAGHDAD, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The top U.N. envoy to Iraq is meeting with Iraqi leaders across the political spectrum, pledging the world body's support for broad-based national dialogue.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Iraq Ashraf Qazi Tuesday said the United Nations will continue to promote a broad-based national dialogue among all Iraqi political powers in implementation of its mandate from the Security Council to promote national dialogue and coordinate international aid to the country.

He met with Farouq Abdel Rahman, head of the Iraqi Turkoman Front; Hussein Al-Shahristani, a leading member of the United Iraqi Coalition; and Interim Minister of Planning Mahdi Hafed, the latest in a long line of political, religious, ethnic and tribal leaders he has consulted since voting ended Jan. 30 for a constitution-writing national assembly.

Qazi has repeatedly called for all Iraqis to take part in shaping their country's future following very low voter turnout in Sunni Arab areas amid boycott calls and ongoing violence.

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