Friday, October 29, 2004

India to US & UN: "No"

India will not send "its observers nor any officials to train the election staff" to Iraq:

India will send neither its observers nor any officials to train the election staff for conducting general elections in Iraq.

At a breakfast meeting on Iraq between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the left leaders, including Harkishan Singh Surjeet and A B Bardhan, the consensus emerged that India should not send either observers or trainers to Iraq.

“If they need our help, they can come here and benefit from our experience and expertise. We have no objection to this,” CPI General Secretary Bardhan told media persons after the 70-minute meeting.

Besides Surjeet and Bardhan, Security Advisor J N Dixit, Forward Bloc General Secretary Debarat Biswas and RSP leader Abani Roy also attended the meeting.

UN request

The United Nations and the United States have requested India to lend its specialists and experts in the sphere to ensure the smooth conduct of elections in January.

The UN and the US had also requested India to share its successful experiment of electronic voting machines for the elections with Iraq.

The Left leaders said Mr Dixit also briefed them about India’s relationship with Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel and apprised them of the talks held with the Military ruler of Myanmar General Than Shwe, who is currently on an official visit to India.

Bardhan said there is no question of sending Indian observers or trainers for Iraq elections. “We are happy that the UPA government and the left parties have the same thinking on the issue.”

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