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Bush On Challenges Facing Iraq

Iraq's major political groups have been trying to form a government since parliamentary elections were held in December. The Dawa party of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, both of which belong to the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, are involved in negotiations, as are Kurdish and Sunni groups.

President George W. Bush says that the United States is urging Iraqis to reach a consensus, but they are still coping with the legacy of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship:

"Part of the task now is to say to the Iraqi leaders. . . .you need to get a unity government together. And that's what we're watching right now. It takes a while for people to overcome the effects of tyranny, and there's just a lot of politics happening in Iraq. . . .The people want there to be a democracy, and it requires leadership for people to stand up and take the lead. And so we're working with them to get this unity government up and running."

The prospects for a unity government are further complicated by continuing terrorist attacks aimed at derailing Iraq's democracy and provoking a civil war. President Bush says that in order to meet this threat, the United States and its coalition partners are training Iraqi military and security forces to adapt "to the tactics of the enemy on the ground":

"We're embedding our guys with the Iraqi army. They're becoming more efficient. There's over two hundred thousand trained. And we're constantly monitoring the quality of effort. And as the quality of the forces improves, they take over more territory."

The United States and its coalition partners, says President Bush, remain committed to helping Iraqis "secure their country so that democracy can flourish."

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