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Seeing Threat to Iraq Elections, U.S. Seeks to Shift Rebuilding Funds to Securit

The Bush administration said Tuesday that it would shift nearly 20 percent of its aid budget for Iraq out of reconstruction projects and into security and short-term job-creation programs, acknowledging that continued violence threatened its plans for elections early next year.The State Department said it would ask Congress to take $3.46 billion out of the $18.4 billion aid package that President Bush signed into law last November and authorize its use to speed the training of Iraqi security and police personnel, create temporary public works programs and take other steps to help stabilize the country. Officials said the money would come mainly from allocations to build water and sewer systems and repair and modernize the electricity system.”The security situation presents the most serious obstacle to reconstruction and economic and political development in Iraq,” said Marc Grossman, the under secretary of state for political affairs, who said the decision was made after consultations with American military commanders and the Iraqi government. “They decided that without a significant reallocation of resources to the security and law enforcement sectors, the short-term stability of Iraq would be compromised and the longer-term prospects for a free and democratic Iraq undermined,” Mr. Grossman said at a news conference.Full Story

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