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4/19/03 - TIME TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON IRAQ - 2003-04-21

For more than a dozen years, the United Nations maintained economic sanctions on Iraq. But now that Iraq has been liberated from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, said President George W. Bush, the U-N Security Council should move quickly to lift the sanctions. This will help speed Iraq’s recovery from decades of plunder by a regime that, in the words of Mr. Bush, “built palaces in a country that needed hospitals.”

In addition to moving food, water, and other emergency supplies into Iraq, said President Bush, the U.S.-led coalition is addressing Iraq’s urgent medical problems:

“Right now, hundreds of Iraqis are being treated at U.S. and British military facilities. Governments from Europe and the Middle East are moving field hospitals to Iraq. Coalition members and the United Nations and other international organizations are sending much needed medical supplies. The Red Cross is working to keep water and electricity flowing to hospitals. And very soon our coalition will be making direct emergency payments to Iraqi doctors and nurses who will be providing desperately needed care to their fellow citizens.”

The coalition is also working to restore civil order. And as President Bush pointed out, “Iraqis themselves are helping. . . . Iraqis are leading coalition forces to caches of weapons and volunteering for citizen patrols to provide security.”

The Iraqi people are working not only to reclaim their own streets, but also to reclaim their own future. On April 15th near Nasiriyah, said President Bush, a group of Iraqis “met openly and freely” to discuss how their country should be governed:

“They even had some protesters outside the meeting -- a sure sign of freedom. Many more of these meetings will take place in the weeks and months to come. In Nasiriyah, the Iraqi people have made a good start. And out of that meeting came this declaration: Iraq must be democratic.”

The nations of the coalition share that commitment, said President Bush. “We will help Iraq to build a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.”