Iraq

SRSG for Iraq, Mr. Ashraf Qazi, met in Najaf with the Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and the Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr

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Baghdad, 10 July, 2005- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Mr. Ashraf Qazi met today in Najaf with the Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani and the Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al- Sadr.

SRSG conveyed his sincere condolences for the recent loss of the Grand Ayatollah's aide Sheikh Hashim Attiyah al- Fadhli, and for other killings in recent months and weeks. He also conveyed the greetings of the Secretary- General of the United Nations Kofi Anan. Mr Qazi briefed the Grand Ayatollah al Sistani on the work of UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) including the work of the electoral team, the office of constitutional support and UNAMI's efforts to facilitate dialogue among all parties in Iraq.

The Grand Ayatollah thanked the SRSG and encouraged the UN to continue to play an active role in facilitating dialogue. They also discussed the ongoing constitution- making process, and modalities for the December elections.

In his meeting with Moqtada al -Sadr, the SRSG raised many of the same points. They discussed the importance of dialogue among all parties in Iraq for the peaceful transition to a sovereign and independent Iraq. The SRSG also informed the Muslim cleric on the efforts of the UN in reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and development.

The Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr acknowledged that the UN had an important role to play in Iraq, and asked the SRSG to continue his efforts to promote dialogue and understanding.

Following their meeting, the SRSG and al- Sadr addressed a small press conference of local Media based in Najaf.

For further information, please call UNAMI Information Office at: +39 08 3123 2642, Via HQ NY: + 1917 3673614 Ext. 2642; or contact Makdiss@un.org or elbasri@un.org; or visit UNAMI's website: www.unirq.org