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'US to work for free and unified Iraq in '07'

The US president says in his New Year's message that the US will battle terrorists and work towards a "free and unified Iraq" in 2007.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2007 11:55 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

US President George W Bush said in his New Year's message on Sunday that the United States would battle terrorists and work towards a "free and unified Iraq" in 2007.

"Defeating terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time, and we will answer history's call with confidence and fight for liberty without wavering," said Bush.

"Last year, America continued its mission to fight and win the war on terror and promote liberty as an alternative to tyranny and despair," he said in a statement released as he prepared to ring in the new year at his Texas ranch.

"In the New Year, we will remain on the offensive against the enemies of freedom, advance the security of our country, and work toward a free and unified Iraq," said the US president.

The statement came as Bush faced intense pressure to unveil a new strategy in Iraq, where nearly 3,000 US soldiers have died since the March 2003 US-led invasion to topple the late dictator Saddam Hussein.

Bush, who was expected to reveal his plans in a matter of weeks, has been considering a "surge" in US troop levels — an escalation that would run counter to growing calls for him to bring US forces home.