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UN offers to help end fighting in Iraq
Updated: 2004-08-08 14:28

The United Nations indicated its readiness on Saturday to help end renewed fighting in Iraq between Shiite militias and the US-led multinational force, which has reportedly killed more than 300 people in the Shiite holy city of Najaf alone.

"The United Nations is ready to extend its facilitating role to the current crisis, if this would be helpful," said a statement issued by a UN spokesman.

The spokesman said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is "extremely concerned" at the widespread fighting that has broken out in Iraq over the last several days, especially in Najaf.

Annan "is particularly troubled by the high toll of dead and wounded, including civilian casualties," he said.

"The secretary-general believes that, in such a situation, force should be a last resort. He calls for every effort to be made, even at this late hour, to work out a cease-fire and peaceful solution."

The world body also welcomed the interim Iraqi government's offer to grant a limited amnesty to insurgents.

"Prime Minister (Iyad) Allawi's offer today of a limited amnesty and wider participation in the political process are steps in the right direction," the spokesman said.

New UN special representative for Iraq Ashraf Jahangir Qazi will travel to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad to attend Iraq's national conference, due to open on Aug. 15. The UN is currently helping the country prepare for the event which aims to promote reconciliation among Iraqi parties.

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UN offers to help end fighting in Iraq


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