Iraq's Talabani Says U.S. Forces Needed for Two More
April 10 (Bloomberg) -- Iraq's new president, Jalal
Talabani, said U.S. forces must remain in his country
for at least two more years, the time it will take to
rebuild security forces and defeat the insurgency.
The departure of the U.S. and other allied forces
won't depend solely on Iraq's ability to defend its
borders and stop attacks by terrorists and remnants of
Saddam Hussein's regime, Talabani said today on CNN's
``Late Edition'' program.
``We are in great need to have American and other
allied forces in Iraq until we will be able to rebuild
our military forces,'' Talabani said. ``Within two
years, we can do it.''
Talabani, a Kurd, was elected president by Iraq's
National Assembly on April 6, ending two months of
deadlock on forming a new government. He said he
expects the government to draft a constitution by Aug.
15 and that ``there is no real danger'' that Iraq will
descend into a civil war among ethnic factions.
Talabani said asking the U.S. forces to leave ``is not
depending'' only on establishing an Iraqi self-defense
force. Factors such as ``the common desire of Iraqi
people and American people'' must be taken into
account,'' he said, without elaborating.
Violence has continued in Iraq even after formation of
a government. The Pakistani consul in Baghdad was
kidnapped yesterday after evening prayers, Agence
France-Presse reported, citing Pakistan's Foreign
Ministry. At least seven Iraqis were killed today in
shootings and bombings, the news service reported.