Iraqi president says security forces will be rebuild in two years

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Thursday that the continued presence of U.S.-led coalition troops was vital to the job of securing democracy, and that a timetable for withdrawal would only help terrorists.

Blair said British troops would stay as long as they were requested by the Iraqi government. "They tell us what to do and when to go, and if they tell us to go, we go," he said.

Blair said it was vital that the international community continue to support Iraq's emerging democracy.

Later, addressing an audience at the international affairs think tank Chatham House, Talabani said Iraqi authorities were working so that Iraqi soldiers and police could take over from foreign troops as soon as possible.

Talabani said security forces were rebuilding. Asked how long that would take, he said: "We expect from one to two years." AM

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