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Bush, Maliki Agree to Speed Up Training of Iraqi Forces


U.S. President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have reaffirmed their partnership, after a week of public tension between them.

In a joint statement Saturday, the two leaders said they will work in every way possible for a stable, democratic Iraq, and for victory in the war on terrorism. They also agreed to speed up training of Iraqi forces to accelerate the transfer of security to Iraq.

The statement followed a 50-minute video conference between the two leaders.

White House spokesman Tony Snow says there are no strains in President Bush's relationship with Prime Minister Maliki.

Last week, the Bush administration appeared to press Mr. Maliki to accept a timetable for political reforms aimed at ending sectarian violence. He quickly insisted that no outside power could decide his government's agenda.

In other news, the U.S. military announced Saturday the death of a U.S. Marine, bringing this month's American troop death toll in Iraq to 98. October has been one of the deadliest months in Iraq for the U.S. military since the March 2003 invasion.

The U.S. military also says Iraqi and coalition soldiers detained nine suspected terrorists and seized weapons in a raid in Baghdad. A separate statement says a Polish helicopter made an emergency landing south of Baghdad and took small arms fire. The military says a coalition soldier and an Iraqi soldier were wounded.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.