Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First the NY Times, now the UN sees progress in Iraq

U.N. official says Iraq showing progress http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Emerging_Threats/Briefing/2007/11/19/un_official_says_iraq_showing_progress/7541/ Published: Nov. 19, 2007 at 5:31 PM UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 19 (United Press International) -- A top U.N. official reported to the U.N. Security Council Monday that recent developments in Iraq have opened an opportunity for progress. U.N. Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the U.N. Security Council that sectarian tensions are still problematic in Iraq but that recent trends including recently released figures that show September having the lowest number of causalities in 2006, are reason to believe that there is an opportunity for progress. During the briefing Monday Pascoe told council members that achieving a broad national reconciliation has become a possibility as a result of the Mahdi Army cease-fire, the Sunni insurgent alliance against al-Qaida, and the pact reached by the Sadrists among other positive signs. Pascoe pushed for progress on Iraqi constitutional review legislation on the oil and de-Baathification as part of a reconciliation process. "As a result of actions in Al Anbar province by the Multinational Force-Iraq and the Iraqi National Army, the provincial councils of Al Anbar and Diyala had been enabled to hold regular meetings that had led to restoring services and developing the economy," Pascoe said in a statement. "Today, the landscape of Al Anbar was dramatically different. The 2007 surge had given communities the confidence to help defeat extremists, and security measures benefiting the population had made terrorist attacks more difficult." Pascoe said that the primary challenge was to "link those positive developments in the provinces to the progress in the central Government in Baghdad. The support of the central Government to the provinces was also needed to maintain hard won security by providing increases in locally generated police," the release said.

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