Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has appealed to Iraq's feuding factions to unite and stop the sectarian killings that have swept the country in recent months. The violence has added hundreds of fatalities to the already high numbers of people killed in insurgent bombings or by criminals.
"We feel shocked, sad, and angry when we receive almost daily reports of finding unidentified bodies and others who were killed on the basis of their identity," Mr. Talabani said in a written statement. He called on Iraq's feuding groups - many of them believed to be militias tied to political parties - to stop tit-for-tat reprisal killings of Shia and Sunnis. Mr. Talabani said the reprisals, along with insurgent attacks and crime, killed more than one thousand Iraqis in the capital, Baghdad, in April.
President George W. Bush says that militias are the biggest obstacle to Iraq's effort to set up a unity government:
"Perhaps the main challenge is the militia that tend to take the law into their own hands and it's going to be up to the government to step up and take care of that militia so that the Iraqi people are confident in the security of their country. It's important to have a secure Iraq in order for people to go about their daily lives."
Iraqi officials plan to restructure police forces in Baghdad under the newly formed National Police to rein in militias and death squads. President Bush says he has "great hopes" for the government being formed by Iraq's prime minister-designate, Nouri al-Maliki:
"We've got a Shia as the prime minister-designee, a Sunni as the speaker, a Kurd as the president, all of whom have dedicated themselves to a country moving forward that meets the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people."
The United States and its allies, said President Bush, remain committed to helping Iraq become "a democracy which can defend itself (and) sustain itself, a country which is an ally in the war on terror, and a country which serves as a powerful example for others who desire to be free."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.