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Annan Appeals for US$107m in Aid for Iraqi Constitution Referendum

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday appealed for US$107 million in international aid to fund Iraq's upcoming referendum on its new constitution as well as the ensuing elections.


In a report to the Security Council, Annan noted that the continued atmosphere of terror and violence, as well as "a disconcerting source of human rights violations in the country," continue to threaten the democratic process.


Despite the many difficulties, Annan pledged that the UN will provide a public education program for the referendum and elections, and technical and capacity building assistance.


The referendum is slated for October, followed by parliamentary elections by the end of December.


The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has increased its presence in the country tenfold since August 2004, the report said.


The mission will continue to work there with the assistance of the multinational force composed of personnel from Fiji, Georgia, Romania and South Korea whose main responsibility is to provide UNAMI with security support.


But at the same time, he stressed, the Iraqi government must ensure that its security sector continues to engage in the " appropriate and legitimate use of force ... (to) protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Iraqi citizens."


(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2005)

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