21 December 2004 -- International election experts say they have created a new body to evaluate the fairness of next month's elections in Iraq.
The body, called the International Mission For Iraqi Elections, was established yesterday during a meeting of election experts from around the world in Canada's capital, Ottawa.
Canada's chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, said the mission does not intend to send large numbers of foreign observers to monitor the 30 January elections because of concerns over violence in Iraq.
But he said the mission would study the fairness of the preparation of the vote, and the election itself, through a small number of its own observers and Iraqi and international sources.
The mission is to be based in the Middle East and Iraq and led by a committee composed of electoral experts and officials from countries including Canada, Britain, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama and Albania.
(AP/Reuters)For more on events in Iraq, see RFE/RL's dedicated The New Iraq webpage.