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U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad Calls for Crackdown on Militias

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, calls on the new Iraqi unity government to take decisive action against local militias and outlines the U.S. role in security and reconstruction.

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    Ambassador Khalilzad, welcome. You were deeply involved in the negotiations that led to the formation of this new government. Are you pleased with the result?

    ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq: I am. This is a government that is truly a government of national unity; that's what Iraq needs at the present time.

    The Sunni Arabs were opposed to the presence of the U.S. forces and to the political process that started here with the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime. They supported the insurgency. They opposed the political process.

    But now they are very much part of the political process. All three major Iraqi communities and others — the Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds — are now in the assembly, in the government. This was a necessary precondition for getting Iraq on the right trajectory, and we have that now.

    There are challenges, of course, but I think what has happened so far has been significant.

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