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Annan Urges Winning Hearts, Minds of Iraqis

Visiting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that efforts in Iraq to bring down violence and deal with insurgency should be "calibrated" to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

"In these kind of situations...you have the war for minds and hearts of the people as well as efforts to try and bring down the violence," Annan told a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"The two have to go together and it has to be calibrated in such a way that you are able to move the people along with you," Annan told reporters.

Annan, who said operational decisions on tackling insurgents should be taken by military commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government, also told reporters that tackling insurgency was essential to create a secure environment for Iraq's elections at the end of next January and important for the country's rebuilding process.

Annan, who came to Britain on Monday for a three-day visit, also urged on donor countries to increase aid for Sudan to deal with the Darfur issue.

(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2004)

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