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Iraq readies for April 20 elections

April 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM   |   Comments

BAGHDAD, April 3 (UPI) -- Iraqi election officials said they're ready to have elections in 14 provinces despite security concerns, U.N. special envoy Martin Kobler said.

The Iraqi government announced March 19 that it was delaying elections in Anbar and Ninewa provinces for six months because of a declining security situation.

Kobler said authorities with the Independent High Electoral Commission said all provinces, excluding the three Kurdish provinces and Kirkuk, were ready for elections April 20.

"I encourage the IHEC to maintain its independence, transparency and credibility, in order to secure the trust of the voters," he said in a statement.

The security situation in Iraq was characterized as poor more than a year after U.S. combat troops left the country.

Kobler expressed frustration that independent media organizations were targets for assailants.

The International News Safety Institute updated its safety advisory for journalists before the 10th anniversary of the invasion. It said that, with Iraq responsible for its own security, national forces and police might not be able to respond as quickly as U.S. or other foreign forces would.

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