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As Iraq braces for a possible rise in violence following the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said the new prime minister's plan to rein in the various militias is a critical step to bringing security back to the capital.
Ambassador Khalilzad, welcome. These two developments yesterday, Zarqawi's death and finally naming the new interior and defense ministers, how do you expect the new Iraqi government or what do you expect it to do now to capitalize on these?
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq: Well, of course, this is a moment of opportunity for the new government, this government of national unity, and the task for the government is to emphasize unity, to emphasize reconciliation, to work hard to improve the credibility of the security institutions with the Iraqi people, and to move to secure Baghdad, which is more insecure now than it was a few months ago, because of the sectarian violence in the aftermath of the Samarra tragedy.
It is time for the leaders of various communities that are now inside the government to take responsibility and to encourage their leaders and their various groups to stop sectarian violence and to come together.
The death of Zarqawi provides that opportunity, and the government of national unity is the right government to deal with the problem.
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