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Conference Urges 'Noninterference' In Iraq

24 November 2004 -- A two-day international conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh ended yesterday with a show of unity to support elections in Iraq set for 30 January.

The conference was attended by senior government officials of the United States and other major western countries as well as of the interim Iraqi government, Iran, Jordan Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, China, Russia, and other Arab countries.

They issued a declaration that stresses a United Nations role in preparing for the elections, condemns terrorism, kidnapping and the murder of civilians, and urges cooperation or at least "noninterference" from neighboring countries.

The declaration further says that the deployment of U.S.-led troops in Iraq "is not open-ended."

However, it gives no timetable for their withdrawal.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who also participated in the conference, said quelling violence in Iraq is of paramount importance.