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UN Envoy Says Iraq Has 'Window Of Opportunity'

The top UN official in Iraq has said the drop in violence offers the country a "window of opportunity."

Staffan de Mistura said that so-called awakening councils -- groups composed of former Sunni fighters who are funded by the United States to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq -- have played an important role in stopping violence.

His comments on March 15 came as a report from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said there have been less insurgent attacks in Baghdad since the deployment of additional U.S. troops, but more elsewhere, including Diyala Governorate and Mosul, the last urban stronghold of Al-Qaeda.

The report cautioned it is unclear how long the drop in insurgent attacks would continue.

Violent attacks have grown more frequent in recent weeks with 13 U.S. soldiers killed in the last week alone.

The UN report also raised questions about human rights violations at detainment facilities in Kurdistan, and the conduct of private security firms.

based on agency reports