Washington, D.C., April 6, 2005 - Newly-elected President of Iraq Jalal Talabani told the Voice of America (VOA) today that his new government will represent all Iraqis. President Talabani, who is Kurdish, says he hopes to form the new government "within one week."
In an exclusive interview with VOA's Kurdish Service, Talabani said, "My plan today is to struggle against terrorism and to have peace for the country, and to help to have a democratic constitution as soon as possible."
Talabani said Sunnis are participating in the political process, and added that outgoing president Ghazi al-Yawer (a Sunni) was chosen as one of two vice presidents. The other vice president is interim Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shi'ite.
Asked about the historical significance of a Kurd being chosen president of Iraq, Talabani said that "the Iraqi people welcomed these elections and Iraq is going to be a country of all Iraqis regardless of their ethnic origin or religion."
Talking about the continued presence of coalition forces, President Talabani said, "We need them [the coalition forces] until we have strong armed security forces for Iraq that will be able to eradicate terrorist activities and to prevent foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Iraqi people."
VOA broadcasts 4 hours of radio in Kurdish every day. The programs are transmitted on shortwave as well as through AM and FM stations. All are also available live and on demand at www.VOANews.com/Kurdish.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.
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