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7/19/03 - IRAQ PROGRESSES - 2003-07-22

The formation of the new Governing Council is an important step toward returning Iraq to its people. One of the first actions of the council was to send a delegation to the United Nations. U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that the U-N should recognize the new Iraqi authority:

“We urge Security Council members to accept this delegation, to listen to this delegation and to welcome this delegation as they –- as we hope they -- will welcome the council’s creation and its assumption of responsibilities and authorities.”

Mr. Boucher says that the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council shows that the situation in Iraq “has changed demonstrably”:

“There was a hostile regime. Now there is a governing structure in Iraq that seeks to protect all people -- Iraqis and foreigners.”

The transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to democracy will take time. As President George W. Bush said, “Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq”:

“We met the major combat objectives in Operation Iraqi Freedom. We ended a regime that possessed weapons of mass destruction, harbored and supported terrorists, suppressed human rights, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world. And now we are moving forward with the reconstruction of that country and helping Iraqis to establish a representative government.”

“There will be no return to tyranny in Iraq,” said President Bush. “Those who threaten the order and stability of that country will face ruin, just as surely as the regime they once served.”