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UN Envoy Bound For Iraq Despite Security Worries

4 August 2004 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that he will send his special representative to Iraq ahead of the planned national conference later this month.

Annan told reporters that his representative to Iraq, Pakistani diplomat Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, will arrive with a small team to assist Iraqis in running the conference.

But the secretary-general said no countries have yet offered troops for a special UN protection force envisioned in a UN Security Council resolution passed in early June.

"We haven't had much success attracting governments to sign up for the dedicated force to protect the UN personnel in Iraq and our property, so for the time being, for practical measures, we have no other choice but to rely on the multinational force," Annan said.

UN experts are expected to assist Iraqi leaders in organizing elections in January for a provisional government. The national conference is supposed to pick members of an interim council to monitor the transitional government until elections.