U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday played down the possibility of civil war in Iraq, and vowed to keep American troops "until Iraqis can defend themselves. "
Speaking in an interview with ABC television, Bush said "I don' t buy your premise that there's going to be a civil war (in Iraq). "
"There's no question that the bomber of the mosque is trying to create sectarian violence, and there's no question there was reaction to it," Bush said, referring to an attack on a revered Shiite shrine last week.
Bush said he had telephoned leaders of Iraq's three main groups - Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as Kurds - saying "I heard loud and clear that they understand that they're going to choose unification, and we're going to help them do so."
Horrible attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1, 300 Iraqis, said reports reaching here from Baghdad, Iraq.
"The ultimate success in Iraq -- and I believe we're going to be successful -- is for the Iraqi citizens to continue to demand unity," Bush said.