Washington, D.C., September 9, 2005 - Iraq's President Jalal Talabani told reporters at a press conference today at the Voice of America (VOA) that "there will be no civil war in Iraq" if the draft constitution is not adopted in next month's nationwide referendum.
While stressing he was sure that the constitution would be approved, President Talabani said that if the referendum failed, a new national assembly would be elected to draft another constitution so "there is no room" for those kind of "rumors of civil war in Iraq."
Asked about fears among Sunni Arabs that a federated Iraq would divide the country, the president repeated his support for this type of government and said "those people who are against the federation are ...narrow-minded Arab nationalists who don't understand the spirit of the new era."
Questioned on when Iraqi security forces will be trained to a level that would allow U.S. and coalition forces to withdraw from his country, President Talabani said, "I think that within one year we will be able to rebuild our security forces, army, and police forces." He added that Iraq could "secure our country tomorrow, but we want to do it the regular way and not depend on militia" and non-government paramilitary groups.
The Iraqi leader's appearance at the VOA Newsmaker press conference was broadcast live via satellite to VOA television and radio audiences in Asia, Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Excerpts were also used in VOA's radio and television broadcasts. Additional information is available at www.VOANews.com
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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