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Reaction to Iraqi Vote

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Leaders around the world are offering their reactions to the elections in Iraq. Large numbers of Iraqis braved terrorist threats to vote for two-hundred-seventy-five members of a transitional national assembly. That assembly will choose a new government and write a new constitution later this year.

Referring to the successful voting in Iraq, King Abdullah the second of Jordan said, "If we have good examples of [the] democratic process, whether it's in Iraq or with the Palestinians, it does help countries such as Jordan to be able to push the envelope. So I think what we Iraq," said the Jordanian monarch, "is a thing that will set a good tone for the Middle East."

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, pointed out that "The conditions for the election in Iraq were, to put it mildly, very difficult. At the same time," said Mr. Putin, "it is a step in the right direction."

From the United Nations, U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan commented, "The Iraqis who turned out...are courageous. They know they are voting for the future of their country. We must encourage them and support them to take control of their destiny."

Javier Solana is Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union. He says that Iraq's move toward democracy will result in more E-U assistance, in particular, help with drafting a new Iraqi constitution:

"The constitutional process should be done so that all sensitivities that exist in Iraq participate in the draft of the constitution. That would be the best guarantee that stability is achieved within the territorial integrity of the country."

President George W. Bush says that by casting their ballots, millions of Iraqis "have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government":

"The people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East."

President Bush says, "The commitment to a free Iraq now moves forward."