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Bush: Iraq at a Turning Point

  • VOA News

President Bush says Iraq's new leaders represent a turning point for the country.

But three years after declaring an end to major military operations in Iraq, Mr. Bush warned Monday the country still faces challenges and violence. He spoke after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss their recent trip to Iraq.

The president's comments came as a prominent U.S. senator, Democrat Joseph Biden (of Delaware), said Iraq should be divided into three federal areas - a Sunni Arab, a Shi'ite and a Kurdish -- to increase security and allow most U.S. troops to withdraw.

Biden argued for a federal system based on Bosnia in an essay in Monday's New York Times. He says a central government in Baghdad should control border defense, foreign affairs and oil revenues.

The White House says no Iraqi leader has suggested or wants such a partition plan.


In other news, Iraq's Defense Ministry says Iranian forces fired artillery at Kurdish rebel positions in northeastern Iraq. Witnesses say it is the second such attack in 10 days.

A ministry statement Sunday said Iranian forces shelled areas in Iraq's Sulamaniyah province held by the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has fought Turkey since the 1980s. The group has links to a Kurdish faction fighting Iran.

Witnesses told VOA (Kurdish Service) there was more shelling early Monday that reached five kilometers inside Iraqi territory.

Kurdish officials say Iran launched a similar attack in the same area on April 21st. Tehran has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

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