Sistani, Kofi Annan, Consult by Phone
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had a telephone conversation Wednesday about the transition to an Iraqi government this summer, according to sources close to Sistani, as reported by the Baghdad daily az-Zaman. Sistani has renewed his call for general elections this spring instead of the elections based on American-appointed provincial councils. Sistani said that the latter “does not guarantee at all the representation of the Iraqis in a just fashion in the interim national parliament.” Sistani told CNN that he had been assured that fair and transparent elections could be held this spring. He still wants a UN commission to come to Iraq and to work toward free general elections. Failing that, he said that the UN commission should work with Iraqis to find a viable, and still democratic, alternative.