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US Committed to Restoring Security in Iraq, says Bush - 2003-06-03

President Bush told Arab leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt that he wants to see democracy established in a united and secure Iraq.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue topped the agenda of President Bush's talks with five Arab leaders here Tuesday, but the president says Iraq was also an important topic.

President Bush told reporters after the talks that he told the Arab leaders restoring security is the key to establishing a united and democratic Iraq, which is at peace with its neighbors and the world.

"America is fully committed to restoring security to Iraqi cities and helping the Iraqi people rebuild their nation after decades of cruel and corrupt dictatorship," said President Bush. "I welcome the support of all the nations represented here."

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak hosted fellow Arab leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Bahrain, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas for the talks with President Bush. Mr. Mubarak pledged Arab support in the effort to rebuild Iraq, but he said the Iraqis must be allowed to govern themselves.

"We reaffirm our commitment once more to the independence and territorial integrity of Iraq under a government that represents the Iraqi people," President Mubarak said.

There is concern in the Arab world about the possibility of a long-term occupation of Iraq. Arab leaders say that will increase anti-U.S. feeling in the region, and raise the risk of terrorist attacks against Western targets.