29 December 2004 The Board of Commissioners of Iraq's independent electoral commission today hailed the work of the approximately 30 United Nations experts currently in the country to prepare for next month's planned balloting.
In a statement, the Board said it was "very pleased to have secured the assistance of this experienced multi-national team, who are working alongside Iraqi staff at Commission headquarters."
The Board added that it looked forward to "continuing to work fruitfully with the UN" in the run-up to the 30 January landmark poll, which will be Iraq's first free elections in more than 50 years.
Calling the UN presence "essential," the Board said that without the world body's support, "it would have been very difficult to work to the tight electoral timetable demanded in law whilst still meeting international standards."
The Board added that the work of the UN team has been carried out with "the highest integrity" and praised UN staffers for having "rigorously espoused and maintained the principles of fairness and transparency in their working practices and in their advice to Iraqi colleagues."