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U.S. Committed to Helping Iraqi Government, Bush Says

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2006 – The U.S. objective in Iraq is to help the Iraqi government deal with extremists and killers, and to support the vast majority of Iraqis, who are reasonable people who want peace, President Bush said here today.

Bush made remarks after meeting with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in the White House.

“My message to you today and to the Iraqi people is: We want to help you,” Bush said to Hashemi. “We want to help your government be effective. We want your government to live up to its words and ideals.”

Bush noted that Hashemi has lost loved ones to violence, yet he remains committed to finding a way forward for Iraq. “He is willing to work for a united Iraq and a peaceful Iraq -- an Iraq that can govern itself and sustain itself and defend itself; a free Iraq that will be an ally in the war against extremists and radicals,” Bush said.

Success is the only option for Iraq, Hashemi said. With the support of the U.S., Iraq has a very real chance to achieve that success and overcome its present problems, he said.

“I leave United States with a great hope that we do have friends in Washington; that they are very much interested, in fact, to help us in these very difficult times and to achieve the unforgettable, the long-awaited success,” Hashemi said.

Bush’s meeting with Hashemi was part of a three-day series of meetings with Defense Department, State Department, and Iraqi officials to discuss a new way forward in Iraq.

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