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Pelosi announces forum on Iraq war by US Democrats

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, Nov 22 (Reuters) Democrats who won control of the US House of Representatives largely because of voter discontent with Iraq said on Tuesday they will hold a forum next month to examine options in the unpopular war.

''The war in Iraq is one of the most critical issues confronting our nation, and the American people have clearly called for a new direction,'' said Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat set to lead the House as its first woman speaker when the new 110th Congress convenes in January.

Pelosi said House Democrats would hold a forum on the Iraq war on December. 5 with retired Major Gen John Batiste, former US ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke and former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brezinski.

''We know that 'stay the course' is not working, has not made our country safer, has not honored the commitment to our troops, and has not brought stability to the region,'' Pelosi said in a statement.

In winning the November. 7 congressional elections, Democrats vowed to push for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq beginning within months. President George W Bush and his fellow Republicans in Congress have opposed timetables.

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group formed in March to advise lawmakers and the president on strategy in conducting the war is expected to report next month. As the administration considers a change in course in Iraq Pentagon officials and US national security agencies are also reviewing war strategy.

REUTERS DKS PM0503

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