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Bush spoke in Cleveland, Ohio (AFP) July 11, 2007 -- U.S. President George W. Bush has rejected calls by a number of U.S. lawmakers for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, saying more time is needed to make the current troop buildup work.


"I believe that it's in this nation's interest to give the commander a chance to fully implement his operations," Bush said July 10 in Cleveland, Ohio. "And I believe Congress ought to wait for [the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq] General [David] Petraeus to come back and give his assessment of the strategy that he's putting in place before they make any decisions."


Bush said troop levels would be decided by commanders on the ground, "not by political figures in Washington."


He also urged Congress to wait until an assessment from war commanders is presented in September.


A number of lawmakers from Bush's Republican Party have joined opposition Democrats recently in calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops.


(AP, dpa)

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