Wednesday, January 19, 2005

US blames high stakes for Iraq violence

US blames high stakes for Iraq violence
AFP: 1/19/2005

WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (AFP) - A wave of deadly bombings in Iraq shows how determined terrorists there are to derail elections scheduled for January 30, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday.

"It shows that the terrorists and Saddam's loyalists recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. They doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy and disrupt the upcoming elections," he said.

"That's why it's important that we do everything we can to help the Iraqi people move forward on elections. This election which is coming up is an important first step ... on the path to democracy," he said.

At least 20 people were killed when insurgents went on a bloody seven-car bomb rampage in Iraq Wednesday, targeting the Australian embassy in Baghdad and Iraqi security forces.

McClellan said US President George W. Bush had spoken by telephone with interim Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar to discuss security preparations for Iraq's elections "and the importance of encouraging the broadest possible participation."

Bush has spoken frequently to Iraqi leaders in the run up to the election, holding at least three conversations with Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and twice with al-Yawar since early January.

01/19/2005 15:47 GMT - AFP