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Bush Says It Is Up To Iraqi People To Determine Their Fate

MONTEBELLO, Quebec (AP) _ President Bush acknowledged frustration with the troubled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday but said it's up to the Iraqi people to decide whether to continue supporting him.

Stopping short of offering an endorsement, Bush said it was not up to the United States to give a verdict on al-Maliki's government.

``The fundamental question is, will the government respond to the demands of the people,'' the president said. ``And if the government ... doesn't respond to the demands of the people, they will replace the government. That's up to the Iraqis to make that decision, not American politicians.''

Bush was asked about the situation in Iraq at a news conference where he joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in wrapping up a North American summit.

A day earlier, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, urged the Iraqi assembly to oust U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and replace his government with one that is less sectarian and more unifying.

``The Iraqis will decide,'' Bush insisted. ``They have decided they want a constitution. They have elected members to their parliament and they will make the decisions just like democracies do.''
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