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.
|US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
testifies before members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on
Capitol Hill Oct. 19.
"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
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.
"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,"
|Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listens
to opening remarks from members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
on Capitol Hill Oct. 19.
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