Iraq conference set for 25 November

An international conference on Iraq's political future will begin on 25 November in Egypt, President Husni Mubarak's office has said.

    Mubarak's office has affirmed the conference date

    "There are ongoing intensive consultations to determine the
    final result of the conference before it convenes on 25 November," presidential spokesman Majid Abd al-Fattah announced on Sunday.

    Egypt had so far not provided a specific date for the conference, saying only that it would be held in the last week of November.

    Despite raging violence, the Iraqi government says it is still on target to hold general elections in January.

    "This conference aims to help the Iraqi people on political, economic and security issues ... to hold elections at the scheduled date, achieve unity between the different factions and obtain a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq," the spokesman said.

    Agenda unclear

    The meeting's agenda is still hotly debated.

    France, which
    opposed the US-led war on Iraq, wants a withdrawal of foreign forces to be discussed and the armed opposition to be included as a party to the talks.

    The conference is expected to be attended by Iraq's neighbours, the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialised nations, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, among others.



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