Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought Tuesday to reassure Arab officials about U.S. intentions in Iraq and the broader Middle East, saying that the United States does not want to leave behind instability in Iraq that could spill across its borders.
Gates and Rice urged greater support for the fledgling Iraqi government and President Bush's initiative to revive Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts.
"There is clearly a concern on the part of the Egyptians and it represents concern elsewhere in the region that the United States will somehow withdraw precipitously from Iraq or in some way that is destabilizing to the entire region," Gates told reporters.
He and Rice assured Arab officials that the United States has "every intention" of remaining in the region "for a lot longer. As much as anything, this is a trip about reassurance and to look for new multilateral opportunities to work together," Gates said.