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Rice on Iraq

Two years ago in Madrid, almost forty countries and international institutions pledged thirteen-and-a-half billion dollars in assistance to Iraq. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the aid is helping Iraq's "transformation into a stable democracy":

"Today, this money is providing the Iraqi people access to more clean water and better health care, to renovate its schools with better teachers and upgraded houses in some of Iraq's poorest neighborhoods. And Iraqis are making the most of this increased opportunity. They have started three times as many businesses in two-and-a-half years of freedom as they did in decades of tyranny."

Ms. Rice says "Iraq's international partners have also helped to liberate the Iraqi people from much of the crushing debt with which Saddam Hussein burdened the country":

"Last year, the Paris Club of international creditors agreed to forgive eighty percent of the forty billion dollar of Iraqi debt that is held by Club members, one of the most generous forgiveness efforts in the group's history."

In 2004, the World Bank and the United Nations established the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq. These funds, says Ms. Rice, are enabling millions of Iraqis to enjoy better lives:

"The gradual improvement of Iraq's economy and the Iraqi government's increasingly responsible fiscal leadership are also restoring the confidence of international financial institutions. Recently, the World Bank approved five-hundred-million dollars in development loans for Iraq to modernize its transportation, water, and educational systems. And the International Monetary Fund, having determined that Iraq qualifies for four-hundred-fifty-million dollars in emergency assistance, is now working with the Iraqi government to implement a long-term program for economic reform."

Secretary of State Rice says, "The enemies of Iraq are increasingly fewer and isolating themselves from the international community, because today, the world is more united than ever in support of a new Iraq."

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