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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
Bush calls for US resolve on Iraq
Cindy Sheehan and other campaigners make peace signs
Cindy Sheehan has been joined by hundreds of anti-war campaigners
US President George W Bush has called on Americans to be patient with the situation in Iraq and warned that there will be further sacrifice ahead.

"Our efforts in Iraq and the broader Middle East will require more time, more sacrifice and continued resolve," he said in his weekly radio address.

He was speaking on the day large numbers of anti-war activists held protests near his ranch in Texas.

A similar number of pro-war supporters also rallied in the town of Crawford.

Waning support

With almost 1,900 US soldiers dead in Iraq, pressure is mounting on Mr Bush to end the war and bring troops home.

Recent opinion polls suggest more than 50% of Americans think the Iraq conflict is going badly.

Most also believe some or all US troops should be withdrawn from Iraq.

Pro-Bush campaigners
A counter-protest is taking place elsewhere in Crawford

The problem of sliding support has been compounded by the protest outside Mr Bush's ranch being staged by Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son died while serving in Iraq.

Ms Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey was killed in action in 2004, vowed to stay put throughout Mr Bush's month-long holiday and hopes he will meet her.

On Saturday, hundreds of anti-war campaigners joined Mrs Sheehan at "Camp Casey" in Mr Bush's home town for a rally on the final weekend of her protest.

"I know the Camp Casey movement is going to end the war in Iraq," she said, adding that no other families should suffer the loss of a relative.

She led the crowd in chanting "Not one more!"

Constitution concerns

However, her efforts were matched by pro-Bush campaigners who took up positions on the opposite side of the town.

The protesters calling themselves the "You don't speak for me Cindy!" group, began their cross-country rally in California last week.

US marines in Iraq
Polls suggest most Americans think the Iraq conflict is going badly

They include other parents whose sons have been killed in Iraq but who oppose Mrs Sheehan and US veterans from other conflicts.

"I'm here to support the president and the troops and honour the fallen hero, Specialist Casey Sheehan, since his mother is disgracing his memory," said former US soldier Brad Ward.

Iraq has been holding difficult and prolonged negotiations on a constitution, seen by the US as crucial if stability is to be restored in the country and troops ultimately brought home.

The country's Sunni minority is deeply unhappy with efforts by the other groups to move towards federalism, fearing it will lead to the break up of Iraq, and has so far refused to endorse a draft text of the document.

"Like our own nation's founders over two centuries ago, the Iraqis are grappling with difficult issues, such as the role of the federal government. What is important is that Iraqis are now addressing these issues through debate and discussion, not at the barrel of a gun," Mr Bush said.

He pledged that the US would continue to support Iraq throughout this period.




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