July 28, 2008
Anna Christopher, NPR
TODAY, JULY 28
July 28, 2008; Washington, D.C. – In his first broadcast interview since meeting with Senator Barack Obama in Iraq, David Petraeus, Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, tells NPR News that the decision to reduce troop levels there depends on “the idea of conditions,” and that an assessment on further reductions may come in the next month. The interview with NPR’s Deborah Amos is airing today on Morning Edition.
“What Ambassador Crocker and I, and also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and a number of others have tried to focus on is indeed the idea of conditions,” says Petraeus. “Another month or so we can probably have an assessment that provides us with the possibility of further recommendations on reductions. But again, we'll see how the conditions are at that time. Prime Minister Maliki has used term ‘conditions’ in his session with Senator Obama and the congressional delegation, as did his spokesman.”
When asked about political progress being made in the Iraqi government, Petraeus says: “Democracy in a new country is difficult. On the one hand they have passed some impressive legislation: budget law that distributes revenue equitably, a provincial powers law and a number of others. And in fact, voter registration started on the 15th of July. On the other hand, this is a very difficult piece of legislation that they are now negotiating – the provincial elections law. And while it's certainly everyone's hope that they will approve it at the end of the month, it is very, very fiercely debated. And so I think it is bringing out the differences between the political parties and even between ethno-sectarian groupings. But it is democracy, or "Iraqracy" as some term it, and we are all keenly watching the debate.”
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