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U.S. Ambassador Sticks To Iraq Election Date

27 November 2004 -- A spokesman for Iraq's interim government and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte said separately today that the security situation should not prevent elections from being held as scheduled.

Negroponte said during a surprise visit to the city of Al-Fallujah, which has recently been the scene of fierce fighting in Iraq, that he believes there will be "adequate security" on 30 January.

In Baghdad, a spokesman for interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Tha'ir al-Naqib, said Allawi "is not convinced that a delay to this election would increase participation," and the government is determined to hold the elections as scheduled.

Their comments came as Iraq's electoral commission met to consider a request by numerous political parties to delay elections by six months.

A statement approved yesterday by 17 organizations, including 10 leading political parties, said elections should be postponed because of ongoing violence and insufficient preparations.

The head of the Election Commission, Hussein Hendawi, told Reuters today that the commission is not empowered by itself to delay the elections.

Adnan Pachachi, an influential moderate Sunni Arab leader who joined the request for a delay, said today that the appeal for a delay is gaining momentum.


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