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New Iraqi President: Coalition Needed Till 'No Danger'

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2005 – The Iraqi government will require "American and other allied forces in Iraq ... until we will be assured that there will be no danger" of terrorists intervening in Iraqi internal affairs, Iraq's new president said April 10 in Baghdad.

Still, Iraq is rebuilding its military and security forces "as soon as possible," Jalal Talabani told CNN's "Late Edition" host Wolf Blitzer.

Talabani, who was elected president by Iraq's parliament on April 6, predicted that a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq could occur "within two years." But he cautioned that any removal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be predicated on "many factors," such as securing the country from terrorism and internal strife.

Any U.S. troop reductions or withdrawals, Talabani added, would also depend "on the common desire of (the) Iraqi people and American people." Even after a U.S. military withdrawal, the Iraqi president said his government would "remain in full consultation, coordination, cooperation with our American friends, who came to liberate our country."

When asked by Blitzer when Saddam Hussein and his minions might be put on trial, Talabani responded that the deposed former dictator and others would face justice after Iraq's new government is fully established. "One of the tasks of the new government is to send those criminals to be tried in court," he said.

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