6 December 2004 -- Top interim Iraqi leaders are due to hold talks in Moscow and Washington today amid concerns about Iraq's continuing violence and the country's planned January elections.
At least 22 people, including 17 Iraqis working for the United States military, were reported killed in attacks yesterday.
Interim President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir said on U.S. television that the elections should go forward as planned on 30 January despite the violence. He said any delay would prolong the suffering of Iraqis and mark a tactical victory for insurgents.
Al-Yawir is due to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House later today.
Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is meanwhile due to open a visit to Moscow that is expected to include a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Officials said the Russian-Iraqi talks were expected to focus on economic cooperation, including a possible renewal of oil deals for Russia in Iraq and Moscow's promise to write off 90 percent of Iraq's Soviet-era debt.
(ITAR-TASS/AFP/Reuters/AP)[For more on events in Iraq, see RFE/RL's dedicated "The New Iraq" webpage.]