UN envoy begins talks in Iraq on security and sovereignty issues

2 November 2009A senior United Nations political official held talks today in Baghdad with Iraq’s Prime Minister and defence and national security ministers as part of his discussions with the country’s leadership on Iraq’s security and sovereignty. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, held consultations with Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, as well as with other senior Government officials, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced last week that he was dispatching Mr. Fernandez-Taranco to Iraq following a request from the Government, days after a double bombing in Baghdad killed around 150 people.In September, during his address to the high-level segment of the General Assembly, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called on the UN to set up an independent international commission to investigate deadly bombings and attacks that have struck the country since 2008, including the 19 August blasts that killed an estimated 100 people in the capital.Mr. Talabani said that the scope and nature of the attacks meant they could only have been carried out with external help and warranted an outside investigation, as well as a special international court to try those accused of committing the crimes. Last week Mr. Ban said that any probe into these attacks requires a mandate from the UN’s 15-member Security Council. Iraqi lawmakers are also considering amendments to key electoral laws over voter records in the oil-rich, ethnically mixed region of Kirkuk in the north and the publication of candidate lists, which threaten to delay national elections scheduled for January. read more