No sign of civil war in Iraq: Rice

Wext: Wednesday, 22.September. @ 00:00:00 CEST

Mijar:

21. Sep. 2004, WASHINGTON ( AFP ) - Iraq is not "falling into civil war," although the country faces a "very difficult situation," US President George W. Bush's national security adviser said, just hours ahead of the president's speech to the UN General Assembly.

"There's no evidence that the Iraqis are falling into civil war," Condoleezza Rice told NBC television's "Today" show. "Quite the opposite. Kurds and Shia and Sunnis are working together to build a new Iraq."

She said "it's a very difficult situation in Iraq, because we've overthrown a dictator who ruled with an iron fist and Iraq is making a difficult march to democracy."

But she added that "there's a political process underway in Iraq that has already brought into power a very good government."

Asked whether a war-torn country like Iraq, where insurgent violence is running rampant, can have legitimate elections in January as scheduled, Rice stressed that the Iraqi people "have met every deadline that anyone put before them.

"We transferred sovereignty on time, they have their national conference on time (and) they are now preparing for those elections," she said.

"This government has only been in power three months," Rice declared, and "they've already achieved a great deal." She highlighted, in particular, the Iraqi security forces' efforts in Najaf, "where they beat back a Shia insurgency and have taken control of the city."

"The Iraqi people, who are facing very tough and barbaric insurgents who want to dash their hopes for a better future, are getting a chance now for a political process to move this in a different direction. And the Iraqis are doing that," she said.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, meanwhile, told ABC television's "Good Morning America" program that the insurgents would be defeated.

"I personally believe that we will win this war in Iraq," he said. "We're facing a difficult insurgency right now, and the insurgency has to be defeated.

"There is no question about it," he said. "We can't in any way paper that over. But I'm confident that ... this is an insurgency that can be defeated.

"It has to be defeated, because look what lies at the other end of that insurgency: a democratic Iraq," Powell said.

His comments came as a number of leading US lawmakers, some from Bush's own Republican Party, have begun to question the success of the fight against the insurgents, who on Monday beheaded an American hostage and have threatened to decapitate another within 24 hours.

More than 1,000 US troops have been killed in Iraq, and last month saw the highest number of attacks against US-led forces since the war began.

Powell, a retired general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said defeatist talk was without factual foundation.

"It is a difficult struggle that we are in right now," he said. "There is no question about it. Insurgencies are tough.

"But to say that we can't deal with it, this sort of attitude that we're on the verge of defeat is absolutely wrong."

Rice said that, when he appears before the UN Tuesday, Bush will "make a strong statement about democracy, about the universal charter of the UN, about our own universal documents that believe in the universality of human dignity and democracy." And she predicted that his audience would be receptive to that message, recognizing it as "the way to peace and security."

Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan were expected to trade barbs on Iraq on the opening day of the UN General Assembly's two-week session.

Annan was expected to take another jab at Bush for spurning international law in his decision to wage war on Iraq, while the US president appeared set to defend the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a sweeping global campaign to fight terror in the name of freedom.


Source: AFP








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