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UN Security Council to Discuss Iraq's Future - 2003-04-07

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says he has called a private meeting of the Security Council to discuss the role of United Nations in Iraq's future.

Mr. Annan spent much of last week meeting with regional groups at the United Nations to discuss the situation in Iraq. He also followed the discussions of the European Union, which has lined up firmly on the side of a strong role for the United Nations in Iraq's future. Mr. Annan said he expects the United Nations to play an important role.

"The U.N. has had good experience in this area, whether it is an issue of political facilitation leading to the emergence of a new or interim administration," he said. "We have done quite a bit of work on reconstruction, working with donor countries and with other U.N. agencies. You have seen the work the United Nations has done in human rights and the area of rule of law. So there are lots of areas where the United Nations can play a role. But above all, U.N. involvement does bring legitimacy, which is necessary, necessary for the country, for the region and for the people around the world."

Unlike Kosovo and East Timor, which the United Nations administered following the end of the conflicts in those countries, Mr. Annan said Iraq has the advantage of trained personnel, such as engineers, and a fairly effective civil service, which can contribute to Iraq's future. He said Iraq must be responsible for its own future and control its own natural resources.

Mr. Annan announced that Rafeeuddin Ahmed, a former official of the U.N. Development Program, will serve as his special advisor on Iraq. Mr. Ahmed, a Pakistani national, has been advising the Secretary General on Iraqi issues since February.