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Iraq Conference Calls for Full Participation in January Poll - 2004-11-23


Foreign ministers at a conference on the future of Iraq have told Iraq's interim government that full participation by the electorate in January's vote is the key to reconciliation in Iraq.

Ministers from 20 Arab and Western countries participating in the two-day meeting at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, also cautioned that the January 30th vote must not be postponed.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, participants condemned violence and urged Iraq's neighbors to intensify cooperation to control Iraq's borders. However, no timetable was set for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the meeting, diplomats also discussed the upcoming Palestinian elections. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the January 9th polls are an opportunity to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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