Bush Hails New Iraqi Government

JUNE 1, 2004 - Posted at 11:21 a.m. CDT

WHITE HOUSE - President Bush says the new Iraqi government means Iraq is one step closer to democracy.

He told reporters at the White House that incoming Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is a "strong leader."

But he warned that he expects violence to increase as the transfer of power gets closer.  Bush says "there's still violent people who want to stop progress."

He says the selection of Allawi, as well as a president and two deputy presidents, means Iraq is moving toward a representative government.  He insisted that he had "no role" in the selection process.

Bush says he spoke earlier today with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to praise the work done by the United Nations in helping assemble the new government.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)