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23 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has reiterated his commitment to keeping U.S. troops in Iraq until stability comes to the war-torn country.

"We are going to deny the terrorists a safe haven [in Iraq] to plot their attacks," Bush said on 22 September in Washington. "We'll continue to train more Iraqi forces to assume increasing responsibility for basic security operations. Our forces will focus on hunting down high value targets like the terrorist [Abu Mus'ab] Zarqawi. We'll continue working with Iraqis to bring all communities
into the political process."

As Bush made the remarks, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal expressed fears that Iraq is "gradually going toward disintegration." He said approval of a draft constitution in a 15 October referendum would not resolve what he called "a very dangerous situation" in Iraq.

Earlier on 22 September, Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on his supporters to vote "yes" on the draft constitution. Some 150 Sunni clerics and tribal leaders have called for the rejection of the document.

(Reuters/AFP/AP/dpa)

For RFE/RL's full coverage of the 15 October constitutional referendum in Iraq, see "Iraq Votes: Constitution Referendum"
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