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EU Warns Of Sunni Boycott 'Disaster' In Iraq


http://gdb.rferl.org/68406183-57D6-4136-A50D-D2F18DF705FE_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/68406183-57D6-4136-A50D-D2F18DF705FE_mw800_mh600.jpg Javier Solana (file photo) 24 January 2005 (RFE/RL) -- EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana warned today that it would be a "disaster" if Iraq's new parliament had no Sunni representation after the 30 January elections.

Speaking before the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Solana said Iraq could be destabilized if its Sunni minority is unable to vote or boycotts the elections, as some groups have threatened.

"I don't think that Iraq could be stable if the [Sunnis] do not participate in the political process, and therefore if they do not participate in these elections, they have to make -- we have to make, everybody has to make -- all the efforts to get them to participate in the drafting of the new constitution and the new electoral process [following the constitution]," Solana said.

Solana also noted that the elections are now "likely to take place without the Sunnis."

Solana said the European Union currently has no common policy on Iraq apart from a general "standard" that all ethnic and religious groups be represented in the country's new institutions.

He said the EU would be actively looking to work with a democratically elected government in Iraq, saying the elements of a common EU policy then are likely to include the coordination of ongoing police-training activities, an aid mission to help Iraq establish a state based on the rule of law, and reconstruction aid.

Solana said the EU will also "firmly" insist on Iraq's territorial integrity being maintained.

Related stories:

"Iraqi Vice President Says Stability Can Only Come From Elections"

"Expatriate Registration Slow As Iraq Nears Elections"

"Iraq: What Would A Shi'a Win Mean For Mideast?"

"Al-Zarqawi Group Claims Credit For Iraq Attack"

[For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's "Iraq Votes 2005" webpage.]
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