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4/20/03 - RUMSFELD ON THE NEW IRAQ - 2003-04-22

Now that the Saddam Hussein regime has been routed from Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition is working to return the government of Iraq to the people of Iraq.

Iraqi exile groups, opposition figures, and tribal and religious leaders are meeting with coalition officials to create an interim authority for Iraq. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, the interim authority will give the responsibility for governance to the Iraqi people:

"First, it [will] allow Iraqis to have an immediate role in the administration of their country, including responsibility for running a number of the ministries. Second, it [will] take responsibility for laying the foundations of the new Iraqi government, including formation of a draft constitution, reform of the legal system, economic reform, electoral planning, and the outlines of a bill of rights to assure a just system that guarantees that all Iraq's diverse population has a voice in the governance of their country."

As Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, democratic institutions cannot be imposed from the outside:

"We can help by bringing Iraqis together and by helping to create conditions of stability and security that are necessary for a free society to take root, but building a free Iraq is the right, and indeed the responsibility, of the Iraqi people."

This process, said Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, will lead to an Iraqi government "that does not threaten its neighbors or the world with weapons of mass destruction, that does not support terrorist networks, that guarantees the rights of religious and ethnic groups, that permits political freedom, individual liberty and the rule of law to prevail, so that no Iraqi is forced to live in terror or fear."