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U.S. Rejects UN Warning About Afghan Election Delay

Washington, 8 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The United States today rejected a UN warning that Afghanistan's first democratic elections may not occur in June, as scheduled, because of delays in voter registration.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, today said in a conference call with reporters that there had been "slower than expected registration" but pledged to assess whether it will be possible to compensate by speeding up voter registration.

His comments come after UN spokesman Manuel de Almeida e Silva warned that the current rate of registration was too slow for the election to be possible this year. De Almeida e Silva said so far 274,000 Afghans -- of 10 million eligible voters -- have been enrolled on electoral lists.