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Allawi Says Instability Will Not Deter Iraqi Elections

Prime Minister Allawi (file photo) 20 September 2004 -- Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is vowing elections will take place as scheduled in January despite an upsurge in violence and chaos.

Allawi made the statement yesterday in London after talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"We definitely are going to stick to the timetable of the elections in January next year. We are doing our best to ensure that we will meet the time of the elections. We are adamant that democracy is going to prevail. It is going to win in Iraq. And this is where terrorists are trying to hurt us and to undermine us. We are going to stick to this [timetable] and I call upon the United Nations to help us in providing whatever it takes to make the elections a success in Iraq."

Blair and Allawi met as violence across Iraq in the last two weeks has claimed the lives of hundreds of people and raised doubts about the poll.

In addition, several insurgent groups have set deadlines for killing a number of hostages in Iraq unless their various demands are met.

One group has vowed to kill two Americans and one Briton unless all women prisoners are freed from Abu Ghurayb and Umm Qasr jails by today. The U.S. military has said no women are being held at either prison.

Another group is promising to kill 18 members of Iraq's new National Guard unless Shi'ite cleric Hazim al-Araji, who is close to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, is released by tomorrow.


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