Bush to fight terrorism despite electoral reverses

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Washington, Nov 12 (UNI) US President George W Bush has said the battle against terrorism will not be affected by the November 7 elections in which his Republican Party lost its 12-year-long control of the Congress.

In his weekly radio address yesterday, he warned American enemies not to confuse the political changes in Washington with a lack of American will.

He said the threats posed by international terrorists remained the same. ''America faces brutal enemies who have attacked us before and want to attack us again,'' he said.

Describing Iraq ''the central front in this war on terror,'' Mr Bush said he was looking forward to listening to the ideas from the new Democratic leaders of Congress ''on the best way to support our troops on the front lines - and win the war on terror.'' Mr Bush said he was also looking forward to hearing recommendations from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton.

The group, set up by the government to recommend the future course of action in Iraq, is expected to submit its report most probably next month.

In the Democratic Party radio address, its national chairman Howard Dean said the election results showed that voters wanted changes in America's approach to Iraq and the broader war on terror.

Like the president, Democratic Congressional leaders also said they awaited the recommendations of the commission.

Mr Bush expressed his gratitude for the service of the outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whom he wants to replace with former CIA director Robert Gates.

''History will record that on Secretary Rumsfeld's watch, the men and women of our military overthrew two terrorist regimes, brought justice to scores of senior al Qaeda operatives, and helped stop new terrorist attacks on our people.'' Mr Bush said.

Earlier this week, President Bush met with the top two Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer and top Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin to discuss the agenda of the outgoing Congress and relations between the executive and the legislative branches of the government.

Bush said the American people ''want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together to address the challenges facing the nation.'' UNI XC AD RN0811

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