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Coalition In Iraq

The international coalition in Iraq, said President George W. Bush, has been strengthened considerably in the past year. Mr. Bush discussed this effort in an address to the American people:

“. . . .the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some thirty nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing non-military assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections. Thus far, some countries and three international organizations have pledged about thirty-four billion dollars in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than eighty countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction.”

Currently, thousands of coalition troops are involved in the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. NATO is establishing a military academy near Baghdad to train the next generation of Iraqi military leaders. Iraqi army and police are being trained by personnel from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Australia, and Britain.

Mr. Bush said dozens of nations are working toward a common objective: an Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies, and secure its freedom. He said that Iraq now has more than one- hundred-sixty thousand security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions:

”Iraqi forces have fought bravely, helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf and Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties.”

“Whatever our differences in the past,” said President Bush referring to members of the coalition, “the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.