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Rice Urges Continued Momentum in Iraq Political Process

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2005 – It's important for the momentum in Iraq's political process to continue as the country forms its new government, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters during an April 25 briefing in Crawford, Texas.

Rice said this progress will continue to send a message to the Iraqi people that their future lies in the political process, not in the violence espoused by terrorists.

Inclusiveness is key as Iraq continues to build its government institutions, the secretary said. "Everybody agrees that the Sunni population must be included and that the Sunni population needs to participate," she said.

Iraqi leaders are reaching out to the minority Sunnis to include them in the governmental process, and the Sunnis, in turn, are reaching back, the secretary said. "It's a two-way street," she said.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was elected prime minister by the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly April 7, said earlier this month that Iraq will overcome its differences to build a strong, unified government.

"I am sure we are going to form very good ministries," Jaafari said during an April 12 press conference in Baghdad with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "All of (the ministers) are good technocrats. They are very efficient (and) from different backgrounds. So I think we can cooperate, all of us, and face these challenges together."

Rice emphasized during the April 25 press conference that this effort must be left to the Iraqis. "The process of trying to form a government out of the very successful election is an Iraqi process, and it has to be an Iraqi process," she said. "I think everyone believes that the Iraqi people now deserve a government, given that they took risks to vote."

The secretary delivered her remarks following a series of meetings between President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. In addition to progress in Iraq, the leaders discussed terrorism and their common strategy of dealing with extremism by fighting terrorists in the near term, Rice said. "The Saudis have made some real good progress in that respect," she said.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

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