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British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih (epa)
October 23, 2006 -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair today held talks in London with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih.
Salih said Iraqi forces will be in control of seven or eight of Iraq's 18 provinces by the end of the year, but he urged international forces not to abandon Iraq.
Salih said he believes the international community has "no option" but to help Iraqis, saying a "partnership between [Iraqis] and the rest of the world is vital."
He stressed that "the Iraqi government wants to convince the international community that it is serious about assuming its responsibilities, and we understand that we need to demonstrate progress on the ground for our people and for the international community."