Friday, September 05, 2003

Making Iraq safe is a job for Iraqis, and no more U.S. troops are needed in the country, Rumsfeld said after meeting in the capital with top military and civilian officials of the American-led occupation.

"Security is a problem, but it's a problem that, ultimately, the Iraqi people will deal with, with the help of coalition forces," Rumsfeld said at an impromptu news conference.

Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad on Thursday afternoon for his second visit to Iraq in four months. He said coalition forces had completed more than 6,000 humanitarian projects since then.

"It is getting better every day. I can see a change since I was here," Rumsfeld said. "That is not to say it is not dangerous. It is. But it seems to me that the trajectory we're on is a good one."

Despite problems in restoring and repairing Iraq's electrical system, Baghdad at night glows with light, Rumsfeld said after returning on a Black Hawk helicopter from one downtown compound to an American base near the city's airport.

"For a city that's not supposed to have power, there's lights all over the place. It's like Chicago," Rumsfeld said.

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