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Bush On Iraq And Syria


U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces have had success in killing, capturing, or flushing out insurgents in northwest Iraq. And, says President George W. Bush, Iraqi forces are performing more and more effectively:

"Thanks to these operations we're making it more difficult for foreign terrorists to enter through the northwest part of Iraq. Coalition and Iraqi troops are now focusing their efforts in western Iraq where we're trying to stop foreign terrorists from entering through Syria and prevent al Qaida from establishing a safe haven in the Anbar province."

Mr. Bush says the infiltration of foreign terrorists from Syria remains a problem:

"It takes a while to secure the border with Syria because it is a long border that has had smuggling routes in existence for decades. In order to secure a border, it requires cooperation on both sides of the border, and we're getting limited cooperation from Syria. We've made it clear to Syria we expect them to help us secure their border and to stop the transit of suiciders coming from other countries through Syria into Iraq. Their response hasn't been very satisfactory to date. I continue to remind them of their obligation."

Iraqi officials have also expressed concern over the fact that foreign terrorists continue to enter Iraq from Syria. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that the bulk of foreign fighters and terrorists entering Iraq are infiltrating from Syria. He said the Syrian government is violating United Nations Security Council resolutions by not doing enough to stem the flow. "We ask again our neighbors to root out elements of terror and join us in regional strategic cooperation," Mr. Zebari said. "Neighboring countries have responsibilities towards Iraq that they have agreed to."

President Bush says that a key mission of the U.S. and its coalition partners is to train Iraqi forces to protect their borders more effectively.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.

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