President Bush (search) spoke by telephone Tuesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search) to reaffirm the importance of holding the Jan. 30 elections in that country, the White House said.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush spoke for about 10 minutes with Allawi, who has said that some areas of Iraq probably will be too unsafe to take part in the balloting.

Iraq's armed forces are poorly trained and often under-equipped, making them an easy target for insurgents who want to scuttle the elections. Allawi has promised to increase the size of the army in the face of the escalating insurgency.

McClellan said that in the phone call, the two leaders underscored the importance of going ahead with the election as planned.

"This was a discussion to talk about the ongoing preparations for the upcoming elections," McClellan said. "Both leaders reiterated the importance of moving forward on the date set by the Independent Iraqi Election Commission (search) of Jan. 30."