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12/6/04 - IRAQ MEETING  - 2004-12-06

An international conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, issued statements of support for Iraqi elections that will be held in January. Among those attending were representatives from Iraq's neighbors: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Also in attendance were representatives from the Group of Eight major industrialized nations, the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and China.

Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister, said the conference was a success:

"The conference demonstrated a collective will to support the political transition toward building a fair, a democratic, stable Iraq."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said that those who attended the conference "pledged to support national reconciliation through dialogue and democratic participation." Mr. Powell said, "We must support the political process as the sole path to reconciliation":

"None of the delegations that I spoke to...suggested delay. In fact, if anything, there is a solid consensus that we move forward and have these elections."

The conference pledged to prevent the transit of terrorists, weapons and money that is used to fund attacks across Iraq's border. Secretary of State Powell said, "Working together, we can meet our obligation to help the Iraqi people resolutely face the challenges confronting them as they try to bring peace and democracy to their nation and to rebuild their towns and cities and institutions."