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Rice visits Iraq



Thursday 5th October, 2006   Posted: 15:05 CIT   (20:05 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, making an election–season visit to Iraq, said Thursday she will tell its leaders they have limited time to settle political differences spurring sectarian and insurgent violence.

"They don’t have time for endless debate of these issues," Rice said during a news conference aboard her plane. "They have really got to move forward. That is one of the messages that I’ll take, but it will also be a message of support and what can we do to help."

Rice was meeting Prime Minister Nouri al–Maliki and other officials as a sectarian spiral of revenge killings between Shiites and Sunnis threatens to undermine his government. The tit–for–tat killings have become the deadliest violence in Iraq, with thousands slain in recent months, and Shiite and Sunni parties in his coalition accuse each other of backing militias.

Iraqis must resolve for themselves complex problems, she said, such as the division of oil wealth.

On Monday, al–Maliki announced a new security plan to unite the feuding parties, creating local committees in which Sunnis and Shiites will work together to manage efforts to stop the violence on a district–by–district level.

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