Bush pushes Iraqis on government

March 22, 2006 at 5:47 PM
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WHEELING, W.Va., March 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush said he told U.S. officials in Iraq to "make it clear" it's time for the Iraqis to establish a government.

While Iraq has had elections for members of a parliament, that group has met just once -- and then only briefly -- as leaders have been unable to form a unity government.

Bush said he broached the subject with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. Army Gen. George Casey during a videoconference.

"We talked about the need to make it clear to the Iraqis ... it's time to get a government in place that can start leading this nation and listening to the will of the people," Bush said.

The president said on Tuesday it would be some time before there was no U.S. military presence in Iraq.

"It's the Iraqis' fight. Ultimately, the Iraqis are going to have to determine their future," he said.

"And I like to put it this way: As they stand up, we'll stand down."

Bush stopped Wednesday in West Virginia as part of his series of talks on the war in Iraq, which entered its fourth year this week. The West Virginia crowd of about 2,000 people included many military families.

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