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Bush Reiterates Support for Iraq, Acknowledges Challenges

  • VOA News

President Bush says challenges remain in Iraq, but the United States will continue to support efforts to bring peace and security to the country.

In his radio address on Saturday, the president recapped his surprise visit to Iraq earlier in the week. He said he was able to see firsthand the strong character and determination of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Bush said the United States will continue to help Iraq improve security, end corruption, punish human rights abusers and develop its economy.

He also pledged continued support for reining in illegal militias, building a judicial system and promoting reconciliation.

But he acknowledged serious challenges remain, and he said determined enemies remain intent on killing the innocent.

In the Democrats' radio address, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talked about her party's domestic agenda. She also called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the earliest possible date.

A public opinion poll taken by the Cable News Network (CNN) after Mr. Bush's Baghdad trip puts approval for his handling of Iraq at 39 percent. That is up from 34 percent in May.

Last month, an opinion poll taken by The New York Times newspaper and CBS television put his approval rating at 31-percent, the lowest since he took office five years ago.

But lawmakers in both Republican-led Houses of Congress this week expressed support for the mission in Iraq and rejected a timetable for withdrawing American forces.

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