'Zero violence unlikely in Iraq'
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'Zero violence unlikely in Iraq'

US President Bush has said that giving the country's Sunni Arab minority a role in govt would reduce clashes.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2005 11:16 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

US President George W Bush has said it was unrealistic to expect "zero violence" in Iraq, but that giving the country's Sunni Arab minority a key role in government would reduce clashes.

"The Sunnis have to feel that they've got a voice in the future government" and will be protected from those who "might seek revenge" for Saddam Hussein's abuses, the US president told PBS television in an interview on Friday.

Bush reiterated that Iraq's historic parliamentary elections on Thursday were a crucial step toward building a democracy, but again warned that they would not put an end to violence that has claimed the lives of 2,140 US soldiers.

Fleshing out his definition of victory in the conflict that began in March 2003, he also said that it was unlikely that armed conflict will have vanished by the time Washington calls home its roughly 1,60,000 troops.

"I think if we have a policy of zero violence, it won't be met, but the policy of getting the Iraqis in the fight and marginalising those who are trying to stir up trouble will be effective," Bush told PBS.

"And the definition of victory, which is really an important thing for the American people to understand, is that we have an ally in the war on terror, that democracy is able to sustain itself and defend itself, and the Iraqi people feel that the security forces that we've trained up are capable of defending themselves against the violent," he said.

First Published: Dec 17, 2005 08:55 IST