U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says Iraq's own forces -- not foreign troops -- will ultimately repress the insurgency in the country.
In several U.S. television interviews Sunday, Mr. Rumsfeld said an environment will be created for Iraqis to be able to defeat the insurgency, which he said could last for "any number of years."
In other interviews, the head of U.S. forces in Iraq, General John Abizaid said Iraqi forces will need coalition support for a long time.
But the general said he believes that early next year, Iraq will be able to take the lead in the fight against insurgents. Secretary Rumsfeld also said Iraqi and U.S. officials have held various talks with insurgents, but not with the most violent groups.
When asked about a British newspaper report that U.S. officials met with insurgents, he said "meetings take place all the time."
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.