Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi said Thursday security progress has been made in his country but warned of possibility of more violence elsewhere. VOA's Lisa Ferdinando has more from Washington.


TEXT: Mr. Mahdi told an audience at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies that the recent progress in his country could lead the terrorists to shift their attacks in the region. "We think because of the achievements in Iraq, we will see more and more shifting of terrorism from Iraq to the regional countries, countries either surrounding, neighboring Iraq or others," he said.

He said the bombings Wednesday in Jordan were an example. "So the war against terrorism is not only something that we face in Iraq, it's a regional and even more than that, an international war that we should all be aware of," he said.

He said Iraq is building up its forces to speed-up the withdrawal of foreign troops, but cautioned against coalition forces leaving before Iraqi forces are ready maintain security on their own. "I don't think it's useful to have a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational forces. We should have a timetable (for) how to build our forces, the Iraqi forces. It will be very dangerous, really, to have a security vacuum in Iraq," he said.

The Iraqi vice president also called for a peaceful resolution to problems between the United States and Iran, saying a confrontation would be "disastrous" for Iraq and other countries.

The Shi'ite official was also hopeful about the December 15 parliamentary elections in Iraq, saying the polling is very important for the country and speculated that voter participation could be 70 percent.