UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Monday slashed the recent violence in Iraq, calling upon all Iraqi leaders to work for a lasting peace through dialogue and reconciliation.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ban strongly condemned the attacks and assassinations in Baghdad, Kirkuk and Anbar in recent days that have killed and wounded a large number of civilians.
He also expressed his solidarity with the Iraqi government and people of Iraq in the face of these appalling acts of violence.
Ban said he noted that Iraq has been benefiting from an improving security environment, and appealed to the people of Iraq" to continue to reject these attempts to incite further violence in the country."
As Iraq prepares to take full responsibility for security in its cities, he called upon all Iraqi political leaders "to work together towards achieving lasting peace through national dialogue and reconciliation," the statement said, adding the United Nations remained committed to supporting the government's efforts toward this end.
Violence in Iraq has dropped dramatically in recent months, but deadly attacks are still common in some Iraqi cities, casting doubt on the ability of Iraqi security forces to take over from U.S. troops the task of controlling security and defeating insurgency of both Shiite and Sunni militant groups in the war-torn country.
As part of a security pact signed between Baghdad and Washington last year, U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns by Tuesday to their bases, and will leave the country by Dec. 31, 2011.