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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Iraq insurgency a serious challenge: Bush

Bush has said that Iraq's insurgency remains a "serious challenge" despite the killing of top Al Qaeda.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 09:03 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

US President George W Bush has said that Iraq's insurgency remains a "serious challenge" despite the killing of top Al Qaeda leader in the country Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

Bush conferred with his top national security aides at Camp David and the team was joined by secure video link from Baghdad that included John Abizad, General George Casey and the American envoy in Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.

Present at Camp David with the President were Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Deputy National Security Advisor JD Crouch also participated in the deliberations.

Bush told the military commanders to congratulate the forces for "bringing Zarqawi to justice" and made a rather modest assessment of where things were in that country.

"I fully recognise that's not going to end the war. On the other hand, it was a major blow to Al Qaeda, and the killers and terrorists who are trying to spread violence and suffering and stop the emergence of a new democracy" the President said in brief open remarks at Camp David.

Bush also told his team in Baghdad that it was critical to have an Iraq "that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself."

The White House stressed that the thrust of the meeting that Bush had with his top aides was not focussed on troop withdrawal and that the President remained committed to the fact that this was to be pegged with the situation on the ground.