Rice says no 'V-E Day' on horizon in Iraq

Even assuming Iraq forms a national government, there will be no sudden stop to violence such as the V-E Day that formally marked the end of World War II in Europe, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday.

Speaking to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Rice said peace would come gradually to Iraq, which the United States invaded more than three years ago. Efforts by Iraqi leaders to form a national unity government have been stalled.

"Americans must be prepared for violence to continue in Iraq, even after a government is formed. There will be no Iraqi equivalent of V-E Day or V-J Day," Rice said, referring to the days of Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan in 1945.

"Rather, peace will be secured as more and more Iraqis recognize that the democratic process is open to them and that politics, not violence, is the best way to achieve their interests and redress their grievances," she said. "This is how democracy will conquer terrorism, but it will do so gradually."

Under U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders said they would convene parliament on Thursday in hopes of jump-starting the formation of a new unity government, though Shiite officials indicated they might not attend the session. Efforts to forge a government have been stalled for months over the choice of a prime minister, even as violence between the country's sects has intensified.

Earlier in the day, President George W. Bush said failure in Iraq "is not an option."

Rice said she and Bush understand Americans' concerns over the delay over forming a government and added that Iraqi citizens are beginning to voice their frustrations, too, reports AP.


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