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Sunnis And Iraq's Elections

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad met with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Istanbul to encourage the participation of Iraqi Sunnis and all Iraqi communities in the country’s December 15th parliamentary elections. Mr. Gul said that in previous elections in Iraq, “some groups, especially Sunni groups, did not vote.” Those groups, he said, “should participate in the December elections to express their views in the political struggle and they should play a role in the establishment of [a] new Iraq.”

Also present at the meeting in Istanbul was Tariq al-Hashemi secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party. He was representing several Iraqi Sunni political parties that say they want to take part in the elections.

Ambassador Khalilzad said Iraq needs “the participation of all communities” in the country's political process. He said “the U.S. is committed to work as hard as we can to ensure the participation of all Iraqi groups, especially those who did not participate in previous elections, in the upcoming elections.” Mr. Khalilzad thanked Turkey for the role it is playing in Iraq.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says other nations have a large stake in the emergence of a democratic Iraq:

“We think that it is important for all the countries of the world, including Iraq’s neighbors, to do everything they can to help build a peaceful, stable, democratic Iraq. This is in the interest of the Iraqi people. It’s in the interest of Iraq’s neighbors. It’s in the interest of the entire region as well as the world.”

President George W. Bush says the upcoming election will show the “incredible progress” Iraqis have made “on the road to lasting freedom.” With “each ballot cast,” says Mr. Bush, “the Iraqi people have sent a clear message to the terrorists: . . .the Iraqi people will determine the destiny of their country.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.