The United States President George W Bush refused on Tuesday to talk of civil war in Iraq, saying recent violence there was part of a spiral of sectarian unrest over the past nine months.
"We have been in this phase for a while. What you are seeing on TV started last February," Bush said in the Estonian capital, the first stop on a high-stakes visit to Europe and the Middle East.
The president also said that it was up to Iraq to decide whether its neighbours Iran and Syria should be more involved in helping to re-establish security there.
"Iraq is a sovereign nation which is conducting its own foreign policy," Bush said in Estonia, shortly before heading to neighbouring Latvia for a summit of NATO leaders.