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Rice makes clear US objectives in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2005-10-20 04:57:52

     

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testifies before members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill Oct. 19. (Xinhua/Reuters)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said at a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday that the US objective in Iraq is to defeat the insurgency and helpI raq capable of defending itself.

    "We know our objectives. We and the Iraqi government will succeed if together we can: break the back of the insurgency so that Iraqis can finish it off without large-scale military help from the United States," Rice said at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Moreover, the United States and Iraq will demonstrate positive potential for democratic change and free expression in the Arab and Muslim world, even under the most difficult conditions; and turn the corner financially and economically so there is a sense of hope and a visible path towards self-reliance, Rice said.

    The focus of the Bush administration foreign policy has been the reconstruction of Iraq, which was touted by US President George W. Bush to be a model to reform the Middle East.

    However, more than two years after the end of the Iraq war, theUnited States has been facing a persistent insurgency that has left nearly 2,000 US soldiers killed and over 10,000 injured in Iraq. 

No timetable for Iraq withdrawal

   Rice also reiterated that US troops will stay in Iraq until the country is capable of defending itself but refused to speculate how long the US troops will stay in the oil-rich country.

Rice faced tough questions by committee members over U.S. policy in Iraq where more than 150,000 U.S. troops are fighting a bloody insurgency.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listens to opening remarks from members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill Oct. 19. (Reuters)
    "I don't want to speculate. I do know that we are making progress with what the Iraqis themselves are capable of doing. And as they are able to do certain tasks, as they are able to hold their own territory, they will not need us to do that," she said.

    When pressed if US troops will quit Iraq in 10 years, Rice said: "I think that even to try and speculate on how many years from now there will be a certain number of American forces is not appropriate."

    The United States has now some 140,000 troops stationed in Iraq.

    John Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate, has accused the Bush administration of seeking to establish permanent military bases in Iraq. Enditem

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