TALABANI
Ed Betz  /  AP
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.
updated 9/15/2005 3:23:19 PM ET 2005-09-15T19:23:19

Iraq’s president appealed for help Thursday in fighting terrorism and counseled patience as his country tries to overcome widespread violence and establish a modern state.

“Today, Iraq is facing one of the most brutal campaigns of terror at the hands of the forces of darkness,” President Jalal Talabani told a U.N. summit of world leaders.

“We are in desperate need of your experience, investment and your moral support for the effort to fight terrorism.”

Terrorists want to turn Iraq into a base to carry their fight into the rest of the Middle East and the world, he said.

Insurgents are killing Iraqis by the hundreds and are trying to stop their march toward deciding on a new constitution and a modern state, he said.

Acknowledging the political difficulties in Iraq, Talabani urged patience. The shape of a democratic, pluralistic and federal Iraq is not quite clear yet, he said, adding: “All need time.”

Since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has seen insurgents battle the U.S.-backed government and drive coalition forces from the country.

Internal differences
Even those within the government — the Shiite Arabs and the ethnic Kurds who dominate — have differences over the constitution and other political issues, while the minority Sunnis who wielded power under Saddam have refused to participate.

He renewed a call for the international community to write off Iraq’s debts, provide economic expertise and participate in its reconstruction. A prosperous Iraq would help defeat terrorism, he added.

Seeking to allay fears that a U.S.-backed Iraq might be breaking away from the rest of the Arab world, Talabani stressed that his country is a member of the Arab League and supports its charter.

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