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Bush: Peace in Middle East Necessary for U.S. Security

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2007 – Peace in the Middle East is hard work, but it’s necessary for U.S. security and for the development of the region, President Bush said here today.

“We have a remarkable country, and we have people from different walks of life, different levels of experience, make the decision to serve America by helping a young democracy survive,” Bush said after meeting with Iraq provincial reconstruction team leaders at the White House. “They understand what I understand, and that is, success in Iraq is important for the security of the United States.”

Bush met with team members from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the military. PRTs are joint civilian-military units that support local leaders and empower provincial authorities by working closely with the communities on reconstruction and other activities.

Bush thanked the team members for the sacrifices they make, and called on Congress to fully fund their efforts, along with the rest of the military. “I believe it's important for our commanders on the ground to have the flexibility necessary to make decisions to succeed,” he said. “We don't want you to go into Iraq and then have unnecessary strings placed upon the money so you can't do your job.”

Bush also said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is headed to the Middle East to continue work with the Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs in seeking a solution in the region.

“This will be hard work,” Bush said. “It's not easy to get all parties headed in the right direction. But it's necessary work for this country, and it's necessary for our secretary of state, with my strong approval, to be moving the process forward. And that's what she'll be doing.”

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