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Gates Recaps Middle East Visit, Surge Pays Off

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2007 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recapped his just-concluded trip to the Middle East during appearances  two morning shows here today.

On CNN’s “Late Edition” the secretary emphasized that Arab countries have a vested interest in Iraq’s future and can do more to support its government.  He expressed disappointment about the “deep mistrust” among Iraqi entities that is hampering progress.

His talks during the four-day, four-country trip last week included discussions about the need for a stabilizing residual force to remain in Iraq “for some protracted time” after most U.S. troops there return home, he said.

Earlier today, he told Tim Russert on NBC’s “Meet the Press” he’s seeing signs the troop surge in Baghdad is helping to stabilize the security environment so the Iraqi government can focus on overcoming sectarian divisions and building critical government institutions.

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