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US, 11 countries welcome IHEC preparations for Iraqi elections
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 06 - 10 - 2021

The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and foreign ministers of eleven countries around the world welcomed the preparations of the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to hold elections on Oct. 10, stressing that these early elections are an opportunity for Iraqi voters to democratically decide their future.
The press release issued by the US State Department Wednesday stated that the foreign ministers of Britain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden understand the importance of this moment in the history of Iraq.
They called on all parties to abide by the law during the process. The early election is an opportunity for Iraqi voters to democratically determine their future, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
We recognize the importance of this moment in Iraqi history. In response to requests from the Iraqi people, substantial resources have been mobilized in support of free and fair elections, they said.
In May 2020, the UN Security Council (UNSC) enhanced the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq's (UNAMI) electoral assistance mandate.
In late 2020, Iraqis came around the idea that international monitoring was a prerequisite for electoral legitimacy. Accordingly, the government of Iraq submitted a request to the (UNSC).
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) announced launching a separate election observation mission on June 21, 2021, which now comprises a significant number of experts from EU member states.
These missions represent a good-faith international effort to fulfill Iraqis' request and bolster the integrity of the election. The Iraqi people now have an opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote, the statement said.
It added that we support the Iraqi government's efforts to ensure a safe, free, fair and inclusive electoral environment for all Iraqis.
Likewise, we support the Iraqi government's efforts to ensure that internally displaced persons can safely participate in the election, they added. — Agencies


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