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UN Voices Concern Over Delay On Opening Afghan Parliament

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed "deep concern and surprise" over an order by President Hamid Karzai to delay the inauguration of the new Afghan parliament by a month.

A statement from UNAMA said the United Nations, along with the United States and the European Union, wanted the parliament inaugurated as soon as possible.

Karzai's office said this week he ordered the delay after a special court that he had set up asked for more time to look into nearly 400 allegations of fraud in last September's election.

A majority of the parliament-elect's members have called the special court illegal and say they will go ahead with the opening of the legislature as originally scheduled on January 23.

compiled from agency reports