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Iraq Says UN Not Helping Enough For January Elections


21 October 2004 -- Iraq's foreign minister today complained that the United Nations isn't helping enough with preparations for Iraq's January 2005 elections.

Speaking in Baghdad, Foreign Minister Hoshyar al-Zebari said the UN has not sent enough election experts to help prepare for the ballot.

Al-Zebari described the lack of help as "unfortunate" and "not up to [Iraq's] expectations," but blamed the security situation in Iraq as the main reason for the UN's low presence in the country.

The UN pulled its international staff from Iraq after a bomb attack on its Baghdad headquarters last year killed some 22 people including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Since then, the UN allowed a maximum of 35 non-Iraqi staffers to return to Iraq. Meanwhile, UN workers are training Iraqis outside Iraq, who are supposed to then return home and teach other Iraqis how to prepare the elections.

(NCA/AFP/AP)
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