http://gdb.rferl.org/02AA2D75-C78E-4AF8-9A99-F8083A857B3C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/02AA2D75-C78E-4AF8-9A99-F8083A857B3C_mw800_mh600.jpg
Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir
2 February 2005 -- Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir has urged Sunni Muslims who largely boycotted the 30 January historic vote to return into the political process.
Al-Yawir also said a withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country was not likely to begin before the end of the year.
A leader of the United Iraqi Alliance, meanwhile, predicted a big victory for the alliance in the election. Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim also told Reuters the United Iraqi Alliance would be willing to work with "everyone" in Iraq.
"We talk with every one, with the [Kurdish] groups of Masud [Barzani] and Jalal [Talabani], with the Sunnis, and with other forces. We respect all the forces. We have to work with them. We want to cooperate and work with them without any breaks, even those who did not take part in the electoral process. We are prepared to work with them. We will also work to involve them in this process and get them to participate in the writing of the constitution," al-Hakim said.
Also yesterday, Iraq reopened its frontiers and Baghdad airport as it eased a security clampdown imposed for the election.
The final count of ballots is now underway and election officials said initial results could be available in a matter of days.
(AFP/Reuters/AP)For news, background, and analysis on Iraq's historic 30 January elections, see RFE/RL's webpage "Iraq Votes 2005".