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Maliki: Saddam's execution is imminent

KUWAIT CITY, July 5 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the execution of deposed President Saddam Hussein was imminent following his trial which is due to end soon.

Speaking to newspaper editors at the end of his visit to Kuwait Wednesday, Maliki said Saddam's trial "will not take longer and his execution for the crimes he committed will come soon just after the court ruling."

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Maliki stressed that if Iraqi President Jalal Talabani refused to sign the death sentence, his two deputies will do the job.

The Iraqi premier refuted claims about the existence of a national resistance, stressing that the Iraqi people elected his representatives in parliament and that there is a constitution and a government which are dealing with political issues and want to secure the withdrawal of foreign troops within the criteria of national interest.

"There is no resistance in Iraq, but political terrorism led by the Baath party which possesses money, experience and can mobilize extremists and use them... There is also the terrorism of gangs who are hired for stealing and killing," Maliki was quoted as saying by the Kuwaiti News Agency, KUNA.

He argued that Iraq is currently in need of additional U.S. forces, warning that a premature pull-out will expose the country to real dangers.

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"We have a certain scheduling implying that the stronger our forces capacities become the less our need will be for international forces... When we will find ourselves in a state of self-sufficiency we will ask for the withdrawal of foreign forces," Maliki said.

He charged that several parties were trying to stir a civil war in Iraq to no avail "because the Iraqi people are aware that these parties are mere terrorists."

"The civil war (would) tear the country apart (if) it happened but our government constitutes a security valve," Maliki added.

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