Iraq: SRSG Ashraf Qazi reiterates UNAMI commitment to continue assisting the Constitutional Review Committee in its efforts to address core constitutional issues

Baghdad, 14 May 2007- As the deadline of 15 May for the completion of the Constitutional Review approaches, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ashraf Qazi today called upon the Constitutional Review Committee to find consensus among all of the political blocs on needed changes to the Constitution by continuing to work in a manner aimed at building consensus and fostering compromise.

SRSG Ashraf Qazi reiterated the determination of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to assist the Committee in its efforts to deal with the core constitutional issues at the heart of how Iraq's federal system will function, namely a balanced division of powers between the federal government and the regions and a system for the fair distribution of oil revenues throughout Iraq. UNAMI believes the constitutional review is an opportunity that should be seized to find an agreement that addresses the concerns and anxieties of all communities, and believes that such solutions exist and urges Iraqis to work together to find them. It is also an opportunity to address the real gaps and problems in the current constitutional text.

SRSG Qazi added, "For a successful constitutional review process, all groups will have to come to the table to make compromises, and the process will need to be kept alive until it reaches a conclusion. If this does not occur, the review process has the potential to be extremely divisive exercise."

In the final analysis, any amendments sponsored by the review process will have to win the endorsement of all groups, blocs and leaders. This poses both a risk and an important challenge. With leadership, the constitutional review could be a real building block in a national compact. Properly addressing and improving the system of governance contained in the Constitution so that it functions more effectively is not a concession by any bloc or group. Everyone would be a winner if this were to occur.