May 10th, 2007 04:23 EST
Leaders of Iraq committed to success, U.S. vice president says in Baghdad
Washington -- Vice President Cheney, in Baghdad, Iraq, urged Iraqi leaders to make progress on the political and security issues pending before the Iraqi government.
Cheney said he and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki discussed plans to shore up security throughout the country and to reach legal resolutions on domestic issues such as power sharing among ethnic groups, improved oil revenue distribution and efforts to lift the ban on former members of the Ba'ath party's participation in government.
The United States also has emphasized the importance of efforts by the Iraqi government to eliminate sectarian violence that has plagued the nation, Cheney told reporters during a May 9 press briefing with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David Petraeus.
"I was impressed with the commitment on the part of the Iraqis to succeed on these tasks, to work together to solve these issues," Cheney said.
Cheney met with nearly the entire Iraqi political and military leadership during his surprise visit to Iraq, and said he plans to meet with members of the U.S. military May 10.
"I do sense today a greater awareness on the part of the Iraqi officials I talked to of the importance of their working together to resolve these issues in a timely fashion," he said.
Cheney said the Iraqi leadership realizes that it is in its interest and that of the U.S.-led coalition for the Iraqi government to make progress on political issues as the coalition continues to deal with security issues.
Petraeus, repeating what he had said weeks earlier in congressional testimony, said that "it will require a substantial commitment to succeed" in Iraq from the coalition and the Iraqi government. Speaking of the political and military leaders, he said "their absolute determination to carry forward in the face of very significant terrorist activity" became clear in meetings May 9.
Cheney said that, based on his conversations with them, Iraqis "believe the [security] situation has gotten better."
"I think everybody recognizes there still are serious security problems, security threats, no question about it," Cheney said, adding, "We've got a long way to go."
Cheney also is scheduled to visit the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan before he returns to the United States.