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Rice On Iraqi Democracy

Iraq's major political parties, representing Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and others, are working to form a new government. They have been trying to reach a consensus since parliamentary elections were held in December 2005.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "All too often in the past, Iraq's different groups settled their differences through violence and coercion. Now" she says "they're trying to do something completely different":

"They're trying to do it through politics and compromise. And for the first time in their history, Iraqis are wrestling with the idea of democracy, the idea that one person's gain does not have to come at the expense of others."

"Democracy in Iraq," says Ms. Rice "is difficult because it faces determined and ruthless enemies, enemies that seek to provoke civil strife by exacerbating Iraq's divisions":

"In the face of this overwhelming adversity, the vast majority of Iraqis are sending a clear message that they wish to live together in peace and freedom. Millions of Iraqis braved the threat of violence to vote, not once, not twice, but three times, each time in greater numbers and with greater representation of all Iraqis."

Secretary of State Rice says "The citizens of Iraq want a government. And they now have the freedom to express their frustration with those elected leaders that have not yet given them one":

"But in fairness to Iraq's elected leaders, it is important for us to understand that the process of forming a government is difficult and time-consuming because Iraqi's have set the bar very high. They want a government of national unity, one that is agreeable to all of Iraq's many different factions. But that's not all. Iraqis also want their unity government to be strong. They want it to be effective."

President George W. Bush says "When Iraqis have a democratic government in place, it will be a major victory for the cause of freedom. It will be a major defeat for the terrorists' aspirations to dominate the region and advance their hateful vision." "A free Iraq," he says "will show the power of liberty to change the world."

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