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US Defence Sec Rumsfeld rejects calls to quit

Written by: Staff

Dubai, Apr 15: US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected demands by retired generals for his resignation, saying it would be a ''merry-go-round'' if officials were changed every time they were criticised.

''Out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States it would be like a merry-go-round,'' Rumsfeld told Al Arabiya television in an interview aired today.

Arabiya translated Rumsfeld's comments into Arabic and issued a transcript of his remarks in English.

President George W Bush today said Rumsfeld had his ''full support''.

''Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period. He has my full support and deepest appreciation,'' Bush said in a statement.

Several retired generals, some who led troops in the Iraq war, have accused Rumsfeld of arrogance and ignoring his field commanders and said he should resign.

''There are I don't know what 3, 4, 5, 6,000 generals ... And that doesn't surprise me at all, in the middle of a war, that people are going to disagree with this or have a different opinion,'' said Rumsfeld.

''We have different opinions inside this building (Pentagon) all the time. And you expect that,'' he told the Dubai-based satellite news channel. ''I respect their views.''


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