ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- President George W. Bush on Monday praised a new political accord reached by Iraqi leaders, but said more needed to be done.
As the September 15 deadline for a key U.S. report on his war strategy approaches, Bush sought to assure Iraqi leaders that the United States would not waver in its support while addressing criticism at home that the Iraqi government was not making enough progress.
"Yesterday's agreement is an important step. I reminded them and they understand much more needs to be done," Bush said. He earlier called Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other leaders to congratulate them on reaching the agreement.
The accord was announced late on Sunday between Iraq's main Sunni Arab, Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders on measures to readmit former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to public life and release many detainees.
But the Sunni Arab vice president who signed the agreement said on Monday it would not be enough to reverse a decision by the disaffected Sunni Arab minority to quit the Cabinet.
Bush's comments came in the face of waning public support for the war and after some top Democrats called for Maliki's ouster.
"It's in our interest that we help the Iraqi people succeed," Bush said on arrival in New Mexico for a fund-raising event.
"And that's why the United States will continue to support Iraq's leaders and all the Iraqi people in their efforts to overcome the forces of terror that seek to overthrow a nascent democracy," he said.
The United States was committed to developing a long-term relationship with Iraq, Bush said.
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