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Former US President to Monitor Palestinian Polls, Rejects Role in Iraq

Former President Jimmy Carter says he will head an independent observer mission for the upcoming Palestinian elections, but he says he will not participate in the Iraqi polls set for January 30.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Mr. Carter - who has monitored more than 50 elections around the world - said the Iraqi situation is "a debacle - a very costly one." He said there is not enough security in that country to have a fair and safe election.

The former U.S. president also said Palestinian leaders have invited him to monitor January ninth polls called to replace the late Yasser Arafat. He said he is optimistic about those polls, and will utilize 80 to 90 observers from his Atlanta-based Carter Center.

President Carter helped broker the historic 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.