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UN Envoy to Head for Iraq Next Week
United Nations special representative for Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello said in United Nations Tuesday that he would arrive in Baghdad on June 2 and he expected to establish good relations with the US-British occupying powers.

"I intend to hit the ground running on Monday morning at the latest with a relatively small team," Vieira de Mello told a press conference, which was held by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to introduce the newly-appointed envoy.

Asked about his immediate plan for his four-month mission, Vieira de Mello said priority number one would be "to establish contacts with Iraqis," including Iraqi leaders, representatives of the media and civil society.

The other two priorities would be to establish "good working relations" with the occupying coalition and to visit Iraq's provinces, he said.

"(Priority) number three (is to) visit provinces because Iraq is not limited to Baghdad," he said. "It is also important to pay attention to Iraqis in all the 18 provinces."

Vieira de Mello also made explanations about his short mandate,saying there was an understanding not to put his assignment in Geneva at risk. He has served as the Geneva-based high commissioner for human rights since September 2002.

Annan told reporters that Vieira de Mello would return to his assignment in Geneva after his four-month mission in Iraq.

Annan said he has designated Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertie Ramcharan to be acting high commissioner during the absence of Vieira de Mello in Geneva.

Earlier, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed that the Security Council had "taken note" of the appointment of Vieira de Mello, a diplomatic parlance for approval.

Annan named Vieira de Mello of Brazil to the post last Friday, one day after the Security Council passed a resolution lifting the UN civilian sanctions on Iraq and calling on him to name a special representative to assist in Iraq's rebuilding.

(Xinhua News Agency May 28, 2003)

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