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Visiting US senators seek aid

Say other nations need to do more

BAGHDAD -- Three US senators met with interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi yesterday and later called on the world's nations to do more to help Iraq in the tough times ahead.

The visit by Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, Democrat of South Dakota, Senator Joseph R. Biden, Democrat of Delaware, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, comes amid a surge in insurgent attacks as the US-led occupation authority prepares to hand over power to Iraq's interim government June 30.

''We recognize over the course of the next few weeks in particular, the many, many challenges relating to security, strengthening the economy, [and] finding even greater opportunities for international involvement," Daschle said.

''But I have to say I have a new and better appreciation of the progress that this government is making and the real potential for success that they may be able to demonstrate as they continue their work," he added.

He commented after a brief meeting with Allawi and L. Paul Bremer III, head of the occupation authority. Violence has worsened in recent weeks. Baghdad has suffered a spate of deadly car bombings, insurgents have stepped up attacks on oil pipelines, and two members of Iraq's interim government have been assassinated since it was appointed June 1.

Iraq faces ''an incredibly difficult road ahead," Biden said. ''I think a number of mistakes have been made up to this point, but I think that the ultimate security and success in Iraq is still clearly within the grasp of the prime minister, his Cabinet."

Graham called for more aid.

''People have to sacrifice and I would call on the international community to do what Senator Biden said: Help where you can," Graham said. ''If you can send troops, send troops; if you can forgive debt, forgive debt. But the Iraqi people have suffered -- they need all the help they can get."

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