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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Top Dems Want Special Iraq Envoy

The U.S. Senate's top Democrats, poised to lead the chamber starting in January, are urging President Bush to name a special envoy to Iraq.

The Democrats wrote a letter to Bush on the matter. The letter was signed by incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, incoming Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, incoming Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, incoming Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, and Sen. Jack Reed.

The Democrats took control of both houses of Congress in elections earlier this month.

The Democrats writing Bush say they want a special envoy to work full-time with the Iraqi government and other regional players to reaffirm the basic message that the Iraqis must reach a political settlement and to help find immediate, tangible ways to quell the violence, provide services, and create long-term peace and stability.

The leaders spell out a number of steps that need to be taken to improve the violence in Iraq, including the disbanding of militias and the need for the Iraqi government to serve all citizens. Evidence indicates the Iraqi government discriminates against some citizens based on religion, the senators say.

"We understand that all of these steps are difficult," they told Bush. "We are also aware that the Iraqi government has pledged to take many of the above steps but none have been accomplished. In the meantime, our U.S. forces continue to be injured and killed. For these reasons, we believe that appointing a special envoy to Iraq, dedicated to helping the Iraqis reach a political solution supported by other regional players, is a necessary step for the United States to take at this time."


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