WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (KUNA) -- US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday
telephoned Ad Melkert, the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General
for Iraq, to discuss preparations for the March 7 Iraqi elections.
"They agreed on the importance of broad participation in these elections by
all Iraqi parties and voters, including Iraqis living abroad; and discussed
the need for a timely and inclusive process of government formation following
the vote," said a statement released by Biden's office.
Concern is growing among US officials that the March 7 balloting could be
undermined by political boycotts, low turnout or increased violence as
religious and sectarian strife in Iraq increases.
US military officials have prepared contingency plans to delay the planned
withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of August if political
instability and violence increase sharply in the coming weeks. (end).
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