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Jordanian King Says Iraqi Elections Impossible Now


28 September 2004 -- Jordanian King Abdullah II said in an interview today that elections in Iraq are "impossible" amid the continuing insecurity.

King Abdullah, who is on a visit to France, told the Paris daily Le Figaro that extremists were currently "the best organized group" in Iraq and they stand to gain if elections were organized under current conditions.

Under such a scenario, King Abdullah said, he "did not see any chance" that the situation would improve.

The king warned against a proposal by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that partial elections could be held in regions that are peaceful in January, on the grounds that this is likely to exclude the troubled Sunni areas around Baghdad.

He also urged Iraq's interim authorities to speed up the return of demobilized Iraqi soldiers into the armed forces who, he said, "alone have the numbers and the capacity to reestablish order".

Meanwhile, in Iraq today, two British soldiers were killed when insurgents attacked a British military convoy in the southern Iraqi city of Al-Basra.

British military spokesman Major Tim Smith declined to provide any more details.

Hospital officials in Al-Basra said at least two Iraqi bystanders were injured in the attack.

Police Captain Mushtaq Talib said the convoy was hit by rocket propelled grenade fire.

(AP/dpa/AFP)

For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".
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