Allawi says elections to be held in January, Blair calls to support Iraqi interim government
Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Sunday that elections would go ahead as scheduled in January 2005 despite the ongoing violence and said trials of ousted leader Saddam Hussein and his senior aides would likely start next month.
Allawi spoke after meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.
Allawi told reporters "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," he said. "We are adamant that democracy is going to prevail, is going to win in Iraq."
In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Allawi also said that Saddam would go on trial in the coming months.
"Roughly speaking, I think October," Allawi said when asked when trials will commence. "Some of his supporters who are detained will be in court and maybe he will appear in November or December, but definitely in October the whole issue will start of the trial."
He added that he was disappointed with the lack of support from the international media, saying: "I'm really dismayed by the media. They are not looking at the bright side and what has been achieved."
And calling on UN countries to help combat "militants," Allawi said: "We in Iraq are fighting a global war against terrorism. People have to be part of this war."
Blair, speaking alongside Allawi, described the current events in Iraq as "this new Iraqi conflict."
"Whatever the disagreements about the first conflict in Iraq to remove Saddam (Hussein), in this conflict now taking place in Iraq, this is the crucible in which the future of this global terrorism will be determined," Blair told a news conference.
He pleaded with people to put aside what they think about the ousting of Saddam and concentrate on supporting the interim Iraqi government. "There is only one side for sensible and decent people to be on in this conflict." (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)