President Bush met privately on Thursday at the White House with a group of Shiite councilmen from Sadr City as well as a Sunna Arab group of Ahmadiya city councilmen as part of a State Department program.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the Iraqi officials — from two of Baghdad's most prominent suburbs — totaled about 10, and are in the United States to "see how democracy works."

The group already has visited Oklahoma City and Denver.

Perino said Bush asked them what the men had seen so far, about American diversity and what they think of people from different backgrounds and competing interests working together.

Bush said he appreciated their work and expressed hope they would take home some of what they've learned home to Iraq and share it.

Meanwhile, the White House continues to watch the situation in Northern Iraq, Perino said, where clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels have increased. She reiterated that the Kurdistan Workers' Party — known as the PKK — is a common enemy of the United States and Turkey and that the White House supports Turkey in its efforts to combat the group.

The United States has not and will not negotiate or hold talks with the PKK, Perino said, and the White House does not expect Turkey to do so, Dana said.

However, she says, the White House is encouraged by the diplomatic discussion that is ongoing between Iraq and Turkey.