UN top envoy to Iraq welcomes Iraqi PM's address over deadly unrest

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BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Special Representative of the United Nations secretary-general for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on Friday welcomed the latest address of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi over violent protests.

A statement by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq quoted Hennis-Plasschaert as saying that Iraqis have overcome insurmountable challenges in the past, and their unity triumphed in the fight against Islamic State (IS) group.

She said that there is an opportunity to move forward as Iraq's people and its forces must join hands and dialogue must pave the way for understanding, reconciliation and progress, the statement added.

"The longstanding demands are legitimate. Immediate and tangible results are of great importance to revive public trust. At the same time, one cannot expect quick fixes or miracles in dealing with the legacy of the past and the many challenges of the present," she said.

"Iraqis must press ahead, in unity, and with an engaged UN at their side," she concluded.

Early on Friday morning, Abdul Mahdi called on the protesters to calm after three days of violent protests over unemployment, government corruption and the lack of basic services.

In his televised speech, Abdul Mahdi said that "your demands for reforms and the fight against corruption have reached us," promising that his government would not make "empty promises."

The demonstration turned violent in Baghdad as clashes erupted with the police.

The protests also spread to other Iraqi provinces when hundreds of protesters attacked and burned several provincial government buildings and offices of leading political parties.

On Thursday, sporadic protests continued during the day despite the curfew that was imposed in Baghdad starting from 5:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) Thursday morning. Enditem

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