International forces must not abandon Iraq while the situation there is still volatile, even though Iraqi forces are assuming a greater role in securing the country, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said Monday.
"I do believe there is no option for the international community to cut and run," Saleh told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"We need to be realist but not defeatist. We need to understand that there is a need of utmost urgency to deal with many of the problems of Iraq but we must not give in to panic," he said.
Iraqi forces will be in control of seven or eight of Iraq's 18 provinces by the end of the year, he said.