Representatives from more than eighty countries and organizations met in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss Iraq's transition and plans for reconstruction. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the world is witnessing the emergence "of an Iraq free of tyranny, a great culture and a great people who are finally throwing off years and decades of tyranny and horror for their people to try and build a free democratic future."
Ms. Rice says that the democratic process in Iraq is being "challenged by evil people who would try and destroy those hopes and dreams." She said Arab governments, in particular that in Syria, have a responsibility to stop terrorists from using their territory to carry out attacks in Iraq:
"It is really the responsibility of all of Iraq's neighbors to do everything they can actively to resist and frustrate the efforts of those who are trying to destroy the progress that is being made in Iraq. . . .It is time for Iraq's neighbors, and especially Syria, to live up to [their] responsibilities."
Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's foreign minister, said the Iraqi government has four objectives: drafting a constitution, ensuring stability, rebuilding the economy, and improving ties with its neighbors. Mr. Zebari said his government is committed to including all twenty-six-million Iraqis in the political process, including the approximately twenty-percent who are Sunni Muslims:
"We have proven not only to you, but to our people, that we are for inclusiveness. This country [Iraq] belongs to all. . . .Nobody wants to marginalize any group or any sections of Iraq, and we are making progress."
"The Iraqi people have taken a great risk," said Secretary of State Rice. "They are a courageous people who are working toward democracy and freedom."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.