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White House: Bush 'Reassured' on Progress by Iraqi Leaders


The White House says President Bush was "impressed and reassured" by what Iraqi leaders told him in a video teleconference on political, economic and security reforms in the country.

White House spokesman Tony Snow says U.S. officials have heard similar positive statements from Iraqi leaders. But he says Washington thinks those leaders are now "very serious" about moving forward on key issues.

Mr. Bush spoke in the 52-minute teleconference Monday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and Iraq's two vice presidents.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she told Iraq's foreign minister that the U.S. wants Turkish Kurdish guerrillas to stop operating out of northern Iraq.

Rice met Monday in Washington with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. They discussed the Kurdistan Worker's Party, known as the PKK.

After the meeting, Rice said the United States and the Iraqis do not want the PKK to stage terrorist attacks into Turkey from the Kurdish-controlled northern part of Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish southeast region since 1984, and the U.S. government considers them terrorists. However, the U.S. has warned Turkey against moving forces across the border in pursuit of PKK rebels.

In other news, Iraqi officials say at least 30 Shi'ite militiamen were killed in fighting with British and Iraqi troops near the southeastern town of Amarah. The fighting Monday apparently involved the Mahdi Army militia loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

A U.S. military statement says coalition troops battled suspected terrorists during the operation against a network transporting weapons from Iran to Iraq.

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