Hamilton: Iraq situation still dire

June 17, 2007 at 6:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- Months after presenting the Iraq Study Group Report, former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., says he still sees the situation as grave and deteriorating.

"I don't think I'd change it very much -- grave, dire, deteriorating, American casualties up, sectarian violence up," Hamilton said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "Still a very grim existence there for the Iraqi people."

American military personnel won't be leaving Iraq until Iraqi forces are trained, said Hamilton, who with former Secretary of State James Baker wrote the report released in December.

"But the military part of it is only part of it," he said of the report's recommendations. "You have to also ... put a lot more focus on diplomacy and political reconciliation. There is still no military solution to Iraq. The military plays a hugely important role, but you must have vigorous, robust efforts to get a national reconciliation."

Hamilton reiterated that the report stressed diplomacy as very important to get neighboring states to help Iraq gain stability and achieve national reconciliation. He said what's happening in Iraq is linked to other parts of the Middle East.

"Nothing seems to be moving in the right direction at this point," he said.

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