Vol. 5 Num 64 Fri. July 30, 2004  

Iraqi Nat'l Conference postponed

A major political conference to plot Iraq's future, due to start tomorrow, has been postponed until next month, a source on the preparatory committee said.

"I can tell you that the conference has been delayed, we are writing the statement saying that now," the source told Reuters. A second source sitting with the preparatory committee said it had been put off until Aug. 15.

The United Nations had been pushing for a postponement, saying more time was needed to make it truly representative.

"Everybody is very much aware that the conference should take place in the best possible conditions, that it should be as inclusive as possible and that it should generate substantive debate on the country's future," said Jamal Benomar, a UN representative sent to Iraq to help plan the event.

"The time is very short to organise such a big undertaking, and that is why the United Nations favors putting it off."