Gyorgy Busztin, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, condemned in the strongest terms the assassination yesterday of Sheikh Abdallah Sami Al-Assi, Head of the Arab bloc in the Kirkuk Provincial Council and Deputy Chairman of the Provincial Council Security Committee, and two of his bodyguards, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement. Sheikh Al-Assi was a “pivotal and well-respected political figure in Kirkuk” who always advocated dialogue and peaceful coexistence in the province, the statement continued.The Mission added that the Sheikh engaged with them in discussions on the way forward for holding Kirkuk elections.Iraqis from across most of the country went to the polls on 20 April to select 378 members on provincial councils, the elected bodies responsible for nominating governors who take charge of the provinces’ administration, finances and reconstruction projects. Elections were not held in Kirkuk, while Anbar and Ninevah provinces cast their ballots last month.Mr. Busztin extended his sincere condolences to the families of Sheikh Al-Assi and of those who were murdered with him, as well as to the Kirkuk Provincial Council.Mr. Busztin serves as the temporary head of UNAMI following the departure of former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Martin Kobler for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).The killings come amid the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.