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Bush, Maliki discuss execution, Iraq security

January 5, 2007

Bush, Maliki discuss execution, Iraq security

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday agreed that investigating the unauthorized recording of Saddam Hussein's execution was the "right thing to do," the White House said. 

The Iraqi government has been criticized over an illicit video, taken by mobile phone, of Shi'ite officials taunting Saddam on the gallows. 

While some Saddam loyalists have demonstrated over the hanging of the former Iraqi president, U.S. and Iraqi officials reported "no increase in violence as a result of the execution," White House spokesman Tony Snow said. 

U.S. President George W. Bush is seen at the White House in Washington January 3, 2007. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday agreed that investigating the unauthorized recording of Saddam Hussein's execution was the "right thing to do," the White House said. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
In a secure videoconference call that lasted an hour and 45 minutes, Bush "expressed that it was the right thing to do, to investigate the taping and behavior at the execution of Saddam Hussein," Snow said. 

Bush, who is developing a new strategy on Iraq that could be unveiled as early as next week, spoke to Maliki about the "way forward" but not about his specific plan. 

One option that Bush is considering is a temporary increase in troops, but Snow would not say whether that was discussed in the conversation with Maliki. 

"They were talking about the importance of having sufficient force within Baghdad to create a stable situation within the city," Snow told reporters. 

"The president and the prime minister exchanged ideas, but I'm not going to get into details at that level," he said. 

Bush was "getting pretty close" to finishing his Iraq plan, Snow said. "He is still narrowing down. He has a pretty clear idea of where he wants to go." 

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