Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi admitted that some parts of Iraq would not be able to take part in elections in three weeks' time as deadly strikes killed at least 20 people, six of them in a car bombing in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit. [...] As the clock ticked down to polling day on January 30, sectarian tensions entered the campaign with the prime minister's Iraqi National Accord party crying foul over the alleged use of religion by Shiite politicians. The INA lodged a formal complaint against the Shiite joint list, the Unified Iraqi Alliance (UIA), for violating state law by using religion in its advertising. [...] (TurkishPress.com)

[more details on Egypt meeting] Egypt on Tuesday hosted the first consultative meeting on the follow-up mechanism decided by an international conference held in Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh last November, the official MENA news agency reported. The meeting stressed the necessity of implementing the conference's final communique to facilitate the political process in Iraq, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. (XINHUA online)

[summary of opinions on elections] Washington stuck in assessing post-election Iraq. Some US analysts fear further turmoil in Iraq after elections, others say consequence of not holding them will be worse. (Middle East Online)

President George W. Bush, in an interview published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, said he was working to make sure the Iraqi elections go forward as planned on January 30, but warned the vote was only a “first step” toward a permanent government. (Wall Street Journal via Khaleej Times)

Spain's Socialist government, which withdrew its troops last year from Iraq, on Tuesday pledged €20m ($26m) to help finance the Iraqi elections that will be held on January 30. Spain is the latest European country to lend support to elections in Iraq, in spite of doubts about whether the elections should be held amid widespread insurgency. (Financial Times)

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