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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 October, 2004, 21:58 GMT
'Time is running out' for Falluja
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
Allawi has been meeting Sunni Muslim clerics and tribal heads
Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said time is running out for talks aimed at averting major conflict in the insurgent-held city of Falluja.

He said after meeting tribal leaders from the area he was determined to re-establish control over the city, by military means if necessary.

A few cells of former regime loyalists and 167 Islamists have been detained in recent weeks, Mr Allawi said.

US forces continue to bombard Falluja and are preparing a major assault.

Senior aides

The BBC's Claire Marshall in Baghdad says a full-scale attack now appears imminent and inevitable.

The window for such a peaceful settlement is closing
Iyad Allawi,
Iraqi prime minister
Mr Allawi said negotiations were now in their final phase.

"We have to restore stability in Iraq," he said. "The window for such a peaceful settlement is closing."

"If there is a failure in doing this peacefully, then we will do it by force," he said.

"There will be no peaceful solution with Zarqawi's people, Saddam's people, Bin Laden's people."

He said a few cells of supporters of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's right-hand man Izzat Ibrahim had been detained in recent weeks, among them two senior aides.

In addition, 167 Islamists - most of them foreigners from other Arab countries - had been captured, Mr Allawi said.

Four of them were top associates of Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Mr Allawi insisted elections would take place on schedule in January.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
How the military are preparing to act on Falluja




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