Annan urges more global support for Iraq as officials discuss international compact

(UN News Centre) - Without greater global support, Iraq will fail to attain peace, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a high-level meeting in New York today, underscoring the importance of the International Compact aimed at ending the killings and bringing stability to the war-ravaged country, reports Trend.

"The international community may not be able to ensure Iraq's success, butit can guarantee failure if it does not come through in time with sufficient support," said Mr. Annan.

"Iraq and its leaders are now at an important crossroads. If they can address the needs and common interests of all Iraqis, the promise of peace and prosperity is still within reach," he added, repeated a warning from his most recent Security Council report. "But if current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi State will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war."

The Secretary-General stressed the need for a national agenda that includes all Iraqis, and also urged unity, while further emphasizing the important role to be played by the International Compact, which was launched in July and is co-chaired by the UN working alongside the Government.

The International Compact with Iraq is "an opportunity for the international community to build a strong partnership with Iraq and the wider region," he told the meeting of 31 delegations that had gathered at UN headquarters in New York.

"Since its launch on 27 July, considerable work has already gone into the Compact, which will provide the framework for a defined, prioritized and benchmarked economic programme for the next five years," he said, noting that a recent meeting held in Abu Dhabi on 10 September had given the Compact "further direction and content."

Despite this, Mr. Annan stressed that the Compact remains a "work in progress," and said that the need to complete it in good time, ideally by the end of the year, must be balanced by the equal need for it to be well-developed, substantive and sustainable.

And he concluded his remarks on a note of optimism, saying that despite the daily violence in Iraq, international assistance particularly through the Compact can help stabilize the country.

"At this critical time, Iraqis of all ethnic and confessional groups must unite to build a better future for themselves and for their country. As they work to do so, they should be able to count on the active support of Iraq's neighbours and the international community," he said.

"This meeting offers us a promising chance to promote that support, and decide how best to fulfil our shared responsibilities towards Iraq and its people. If we reenergize our efforts and our commitment, we can still help build a country at peace with itself, with its neighbours and with the wider international community."

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