WASHINGTON – President Bush urged feuding Iraqi leaders on Monday to stop bickering and forge agreement on key positions in a unity government.
The president reminded Iraqis that Americans had made "great sacrifices" and Iraqi voters had risked their lives to promote Iraq's postwar development.
"Americans and Iraqis alike are waiting and watching to see what this sacrifice will produce, and we both expect results," Bush said in a speech at Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Study.
The president also urged other nations, especially Arab neighbors, to provide more support to Iraq, particularly in making good on pledges of financial aid.
The State Department, meanwhile, rejected assertions by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a close Arab ally, that Iraq was descending into civil war.
"That's not our assessment," spokesman Sean McCormack said. "We don't share that assessment."
Mubarak said in a television interview Saturday that civil war "has almost started" in Iraq and that an American troop withdrawal would only make the situation worse.
Mubarak also told the Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya that the unrest was Saddam Hussein's fault and that "at the moment, Iraq is almost close to destruction."
Asked to respond, McCormack said, "Certainly, there are great difficulties in Iraq with respect to the security situation." And yet, he said, "there is progress on the political front and on a variety of other fronts in Iraq."
"What we think is important is that the countries of the region, the leaders of the region, do everything they can to help the Iraqi people move forward the democratic political process that is under way," McCormack said.
Also, he said, Arab leaders should provide diplomatic support to Iraq and help Iraqis with their security challenges.
McCormack acknowledged that Egypt was helping with some police training, and he then appeared to chide Mubarak.
"We would certainly call upon every country to do everything that it possibly could in that regard, including the public diplomatic rhetoric," he said.