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Bush Tells Iraqi Leaders They Have Responsibility to Unite Iraq

  • VOA News

President Bush says he has told Iraqi political leaders they have "awesome responsibilities to their people" -- including the responsibility to unite the country.

During a visit to a U.S. Marine base in California, Mr. Bush said he spoke by phone on Sunday with Prime Minister-designate Jawad al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and new parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani.

President Bush said he also told the leaders they have a responsibility of improving the lives of the Iraqi people regardless of their religion, and a responsibility to defeat the insurgents.

This comes one day after al-Maliki was designated prime minister, ending a four-month deadlock over the post and moving the country closer to forming a unity government. He now has one month to present his cabinet to parliament for approval.

President Bush has hailed the agreement as a historic achievement for Iraq.

In other news, insurgent attacks across Iraq killed at least 11 Iraqis and three U.S. soldiers today. In the deadliest incident, a rocket attack in central Baghdad killed seven Iraqi civilians.

Also today, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad met with Mr. Talabani and the regional president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, on security issues.

Separately, the U.S. military says eight suspected terrorists were detained Saturday during a combat patrol south of Baghdad.
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