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US, UN Praise Balloting in Iraq


The United States and United Nations are praising Iraq's referendum on Saturday on a draft constitution, remarking on the vote's high turnout and peaceful conduct.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the referendum an important milestone. Ms Rice said the United States' principal concern was that Iraqis have the opportunity to go and voice their views of the constitution, and she said that is what happened.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Iraqis for braving what he called the threat of violence to exercise their vote.

Carina Perelli, the head of the U.N. team providing technical assistance to the Iraqi government, remarked that the election was incredibly peaceful. She said for the first time in a long time, Iraqis turned to the polls and not to the guns

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