Thursday, June 10, 2004

Insurgents are expected to test Iraq's new leaders by increasing their attacks for at least a month after the United States turns over control to a new governing body, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said Monday after returning from a weekend visit to Baghdad...

Ensign traveled with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah. The senators visited the U.S. military's staging area in Kuwait and then went to Iraq before heading to France to attend D-Day commemorative ceremonies on Sunday.

In Baghdad, the senators met for about 75 minutes with new Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi.

Ensign said he was impressed with Allawi, who has said he would welcome U.S. forces staying in Iraq until the country could handle its own security.

"We must keep this guy alive," Ensign said. "He has the right vision for Iraq. He's very much for democracy and rule of law and individual rights and he's also very appreciative of America."

The trip marked Ensign's second visit to Iraq. He was there in December on the weekend when Saddam Hussein was captured.

"There was a lot more uncertainty in Iraq than there is today," Ensign said. "I can't emphasize how important it is that we have the transition now happening. I am a lot more optimistic than before I went."

No comments: