Video: Bush meets with Shiite leader

updated 12/4/2006 3:12:36 PM ET 2006-12-04T20:12:36

President Bush told an Iraqi power broker on Monday that the United States was not satisfied with the progress of efforts to stop the sharp escalation of violence in Iraq.

Bush met at the White House with Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite leader of the largest bloc in Iraq's parliament.

Al-Hakim said that he "vehemently" opposes any regional or international effort to solve Iraq's problems that goes around the unity government in Baghdad.

"Iraq should be in a position to solve Iraq's problems," al-Hakim said.

The president said he spoke with al-Hakim for more than an hour and said they had a "very constructive conversation."

Video: President changing tune on Iraq?

"I assured him that the U.S. supports his work and the work of the prime minister to unify the country," Bush said, referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"Part of unifying Iraq is for the elected leaders and society leaders to reject the extremists that are trying to stop the advance of this young democracy," Bush said.

"We talked about the need to give the government Iraq more capability as soon as possible so the elected government of Iraq can do that which the Iraqi people want to secure their country from extremists and murderers," Bush said. "I told his eminence that I was proud of the courage of the Iraqi people. I told him that we're not satisfied with the pace of progress in Iraq. And that we want to continue to work with the sovereign government of Iraq."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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