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Bush: Talks Possible With Iran, Syria Under Certain Conditions


President Bush says that under certain conditions he may consider talks with Iran and Syria on resolving the war in Iraq. The Iraq Study Group recommends such talks in its report.

Mr. Bush said before talks can take place, Tehran and Damascus must stop funding terrorists and pledge support for the Iraqi government and economy. He said otherwise, Iran and Syria -- quote -- "shouldn't bother to show up."

The president previously has rejected talks with Iran and Syria.

President Bush spoke Thursday at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair after the two leaders met at the White House.

They spoke one day after the release of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report. It says U.S. policy in Iraq is not working.

The Iraq Study Group describe the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating." It recommends that the U.S. military change its primary mission from combat to support. It calls for pulling out most U.S. combat troops by early 2008.

President Bush announced that Mr. Blair will travel to the Middle East soon to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Also Thursday, the U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to return to the Middle East early next year. A spokesman said it is important for Rice to remain actively engaged in the region.

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