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Powell: Iraq Elections to Send Insurgents Strong Message

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2005 – The upcoming Iraqi elections won't bring an end to the insurgency in Iraq, but it's critical that they proceed as planned, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today on CNN's "Late Edition."

Powell, speaking from Nairobi, Kenya, said the coalition, the United Nations, the interim Iraqi government, and most importantly, the Iraqi people, support sticking to the Jan. 30 timetable for the elections.

The coalition and interim government Iraq have long recognized that the elections won't bring an immediate end to the insurgency there, he acknowledged. However, Powell said, giving the Iraqis the opportunity to decide how they want to be governed could ultimately play a big part in the insurgents' defeat.

"The insurgency will continue and is going to have do be defeated," the secretary said. One of the greatest factors in that defeat, he said, will be "the reality that the Iraqi people now have a government that they elected and they can call their own."

Powell said the coalition is hopeful that this will give the Iraqi people "a will to start pushing back against these terrorists and murderers and elements of the old regime that are not part of the future but part of the past."

While acknowledging that "there are dangers ahead," Powell said "the way to meet those dangers is not to walk away from the elections." Rather, he said, it's to "do everything we can to provide the security conditions needed to have a successful election."

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Secretary of State Colin Powell


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