“Iraq must come together to overcome violence. There is a need, more than ever before, to speed up the formation of a government that will assert respect for Human Rights and the rule of law in an alarmingly deteriorating security situation in Iraq,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi said today. Sectarian tensions are higher than ever and mutilated bodies continue to appear on the streets on a daily basis, he added in a statement, stating that he was appalled by the daily cases of torture, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial executions that have affected all communities and led to the internal displacement of Iraqi civilians. He called on the Iraqi authorities to take firm action to stop the violence and ensure that citizens enjoy the rights and protection stipulated by Iraqi and international laws. Mr. Qazi’s statement followed his address yesterday to the Arab League Summit conference in Khartoum, Sudan, in which he declared that a government in such a crisis situation should seek to the fullest extent possible to govern by consent and win the trust of Iraq’s citizens regardless of their ethnic and sectarian background.“While fully upholding respect for the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, the international community has a duty to caution Iraq’s political leaders that there is no alternative to the creation of a national government,” he said. “An administration which is perceived as merely a loose collection of interest groups will not succeed and is far below what Iraqis deserve.”He stressed the need for a new atmosphere in Iraq to establish mutual confidence and a more imaginative political discourse built on political flexibility to counter the perception that there are only two alternatives: civil war or dismemberment of the country.“An inclusive political process built on objectives which are directed to serve the public national interest should be given priority,” he said. “These in turn depend on the willingness of Iraq’s leaders to see beyond their opponent’s identity politics, and to articulate a future vision of Iraq that sees in multilateralism an important balance to serve Iraq’s national unity.” He noted that the lack of adequate security serious hampered rehabilitation and reconstruction and disruption to basic services, with a huge financial and social cost. “All Iraqi parties have to work towards achieving joint national reconciliation instead of local conflicting interests,” he said. “The neighboring and regional states have a special responsibility to assure the Iraqi people that their involvement in supporting Iraq’s political process is intended to ensure the success of the national accord,” he added, referring to the Arab League’s involvement in convening the National Accord preparatory conference in Cairo last November. The conference itself is slated to be held in Baghdad in June.