Biden, UN official discuss preparations for March 7 elections in Iraq

Politics 2/23/2010 8:16:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (KUNA) -- US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday telephoned Ad Melkert, the Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for Iraq, to discuss preparations for the March 7 Iraqi elections.
"They agreed on the importance of broad participation in these elections by all Iraqi parties and voters, including Iraqis living abroad; and discussed the need for a timely and inclusive process of government formation following the vote," said a statement released by Biden's office.
Concern is growing among US officials that the March 7 balloting could be undermined by political boycotts, low turnout or increased violence as religious and sectarian strife in Iraq increases.
US military officials have prepared contingency plans to delay the planned withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of August if political instability and violence increase sharply in the coming weeks. (end). KUNA 232016 Feb 10NNNN