7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

US 'sets conditions for Iraq election delay'

MANAMA: The Iraqi elections scheduled for January 30 could be postponed for a few weeks to ensure they are held in a more secure environment, it was revealed last night. Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is reportedly conducting secret talks with the US administration in a bid to agree a joint decision, Iraqi politicians close to Mr Allawi revealed to Akhbar Al Khaleej correspondent in Baghdad Dr Hameed Abdulla.

The initiative follows the decision taken by several influential Iraqi political forces to boycott the polls.

The last few weeks have also witnessed a big resurgence of violence in a bid to undermine the electoral process.

Several Arab and European countries in addition to pro-Washington Iraqi groups are also reportedly urging the US administration to delay the polls.

The same sources said that President George W Bush had agreed to the delay in principle.

The US administration has reportedly set five conditions for the elections to be postponed. They are:

1. The Shi'ite authority, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, and Kurdish political leaders should announce unequivocally that they support the decision to postpone the polls. Washington does not want to antagonise its potential political allies, particularly Kurds and Shi'ites.

2. Sunni leaders should pledge to take part in rescheduled elections if they are delayed.

3. Sunni leaders should put pressure on the insurgents to halt their attacks on the coalitions forces, take part in the polls and refrain from any acts of violence or intimidation.

4. The Sunnis should pledge to abide by the elections results even if the Shi'ites win by a landslide.

5. The Sunnite MPs together with other representatives should pledge to actively contribute to drafting the new permanent Iraqi constitution, without seeking to impose their own terms.

Akhbar Al Khaleej said the Security Council would then convene to set a new and non-negotiable election date.

Sunnis Scholars Organ-isation spokesman Shaikh Muthanna Dhari reiterated the decision to boycott the elections unless an exact date was announced for occupation forces to leave Iraq. He also called for UN forces to supervise the elections.

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