For Immediate Release
January 25, 2005
From remarks by Ambassador Negroponte in interviews on Fox News Sunday and ABC's This Week, 1/23/05
Insurgents, al-Qaida, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have all said they want to do their utmost to disrupt the Jan. 30 national elections in Iraq.
There are elaborate security measures being taken by the multinational forces and the Iraqi armed forces - about 70 to 80 battalions are operations - and police.
In large parts of the country, it will be safe for people to vote. Security plans go all the way down to the district level in Iraq.
Iraqi voters will participate in the northern and southern parts of Iraq, and there will be some problematic areas like in the Sunni Triangle, and especially in the provinces of Al-Anbar and Nineveh. But even there, great efforts are being made to enable every eligible Iraqi to cast their ballot.
It is important to focus on the significance of the elections.
The Iraqi people will be voting for a National Assembly which will select a new government. This government, the first elected government, will then draft a new constitution, which will shape the political future of the country.
Six or eight months ago, people were wondering whether or not they could happen. These elections are going to lead to the creation of a national assembly and a democratically, popularly-elected government. This is part of a steady progression towards an ever more democratic society.