Bush meets with Gates to discuss Iraq strategy

December 24, 2006 06:14

US President George W. Bush, drafting an overhaul of his faltering and unpopular war plan, heard from a Pentagon chief on Saturday who had just returned from Iraq with a positive impression of Iraqi leaders' plans to address sectarian violence. Defense Secretary Robert Gates finished his first week on the job by delivering a report to Bush on the three days he spent talking with Iraqi leaders, US commanders and American soldiers. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, who traveled with Gates to Iraq, helped make the presentation. The early-morning meeting at Camp David in Maryland's mountains lasted about an hour. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser Stephen Hadley and Hadley's deputy, J.D. Crouch, who is coordinating the administration's Iraq review, also participated. White House officials declined to disclose any details of the conversations. Bush is meeting with his national security team again Thursday at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. "The president is pleased with the progress being made" to design a new policy, said Blain Rethmeier, a Bush spokesman. "The president is leaving all options on the table on the way forward."

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