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Major combat operations in Iraq over: Bush

T V Parasuram in Washington | May 02, 2003 09:25 IST

Stopping short of declaring complete victory, President George W Bush on Friday said major fighting in Iraq was over but warned "dangerous" work against terrorism still lay ahead and that all "outlaw" regimes would be confronted.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the US and our allies have prevailed," Bush said from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln which was returning to its home port on the West Coast after ten months of service in support of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bush made it clear that there will be no early retreat from Iraq, saying the transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time but it is worth every effort. "Our coalition will stay until our work is done, and then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq."

The liberation of Iraq, he said, was crucial in the campaign against terror. "We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding."

While pledging loyalty to any nation that helps in America's anti-terrorist campaign, Bush said: "Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction, is a grave danger to the civilised world, and will be confronted."

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