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Gulf leaders call for popular participation in Iraqi elections
www.chinaview.cn 2004-12-21 21:28:06

   MANAMA, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Six Gulf Arab leaders on Tuesday called for efforts by the international community to ensure the participation of all walks of life in Iraq in the upcoming Iraqi elections due on Jan. 30, 2005.

   "We hope the United States can work with the United Nations and the international community to ensure all Iraqis can participate in the coming elections and Iraq's future political life," according to the final communique, read out by Abdul Rahman Al-Attiya, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

   Leaders from the six GCC states, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, wrapped up here a two-day summit.

   "All the issues concerning Iraq should be solved on the basis of the UN Resolution 1546," Attiya said.

   The UN resolution, adopted in June, called for a major UN role in Iraq's reconstruction and respect for the country's sovereignty.

   The situation in Iraq has drawn great attention from the Gulf states, and an on-time ballot will help achieve stability and security in the whole region, a senior Bahrain official said earlier on the sidelines of the summit.

   However, the scheduled elections are overshadowed by continuous violence in the country and a ruffled relationship between Sunnis, accounting for 20 percent of the population, and Shiites, 60 percent.

   On Sunday, at least 62 Iraqis were killed and 147 others wounded in two coordinated car bombings in Karbala and Najaf, two holiest Shiite cities in Iraq.

   The Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi warned against a sectarian war in the country.

   Till now, over 200 political parties and groups, many representing the Shiites and the Kurds, have decided to run in the Iraqi parliamentary elections due on Jan. 30.

   However, dozens, including the powerful Sunni Muslim Scholars Association, announced to boycott the elections in protest against the US-Iraqi offensive on the Sunni town of Fallujah.

   The six Gulf states also voiced support to Iraq's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. "We refuse anything that can endanger Iraq's independence, sovereignty and land," said the communique.

   Meanwhile, the regional political and economic alliance also condemned Iraq's invasion to Kuwait in the 1990 ordered by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and urged Iraq to return properties it seized in Kuwait during the first Gulf War.  Enditem 

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