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Bush to Meet Iraqi President on Eve of UN Speech

President Bush meets Tuesday at the White House with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.  The meeting comes as both men prepare to address the United Nations about the future of Iraq and other issues.

The White House talks are likely to focus on Iraq's draft constitution and efforts to win the support of Sunni Muslims.

A referendum on that constitution will be held next month, and President Bush says the United States will provide the troops necessary to make sure those elections go forward.

"After all, the enemy wants to stop democracy," said Mr. Bush.  "See, that's what they want to do.  They want to kill enough people in the hope that democracy won't go forward."

Speaking to reporters Monday while touring the hurricane-damaged city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the president stressed the United States has enough troops to help the storm victims and meet its obligations in Iraq.  He said the notion the military is stretched thin is, as he put it, preposterous.

President Talabani has said he thinks Iraqi forces will be ready to take full responsibility for the country's security within two years.  During a stop at the Pentagon last week, he said all American troops could leave the country at that time, though he would personally like to see enough remain to staff two or three small bases.

Throughout his stay in Washington, the Iraqi president has held a number of media interviews, along with a news conference at VOA headquarters where he talked about prospects for public approval of the draft constitution.  Mr. Talabani said he expects the document will be approved by voters and predicted there will be no civil war even if it is rejected. 

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