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Iraqi Foreign Minister Discusses the New Unity Government

Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraq foreign minister talks about efforts to build a unity government, the recent violence and efforts to crackdown on militias. Zebari has served as the foreign minister of Iraq for nearly three years.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Welcome, Minister, Zebari. Thanks for joining us.

  • HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Iraqi Foreign Minister:

    You're most welcome.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Today, Baghdad saw a suicide attack on a mosque and a prominent Sunni figure was killed in Basra. When is this sectarian killing going to stop?

  • HOSHYAR ZEBARI:

    It will take some time. Now we have an opportunity, a new government. We have the ministers of — the security ministers named, and definitely one of the tasks for this government is to address this increase in sectarian violence.

    And this will need a collective effort by the new government to address that. We have some successes. We will have some setbacks. But, really, this new government is determined to move ahead to assume leadership and to make a break with the past.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    How long do you think this new government has to really tamp down on the violence, in a measurable way, before it loses credibility or legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people?

  • HOSHYAR ZEBARI:

    Margaret, it would be very difficult to put a time line on that, but I believe the next six months would be very crucial to test this government and what it can deliver, in terms of security, in terms of providing services, in terms of moving Iraq forward, being more self-reliant on security, building security forces, and these are the serious challenges.

    That's why we need continued international engagement and support during this critical period. Now, we have a constitutional government; we have a national unity government. All the components of the Iraqi society are on board.

    We have a plan, and we have the support. So a great deal will depend really on the leadership that this government will demonstrate to lead the people forward. So I think, personally, the next six months will be very important, very critical to test this government.