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5/1/04 - A U.S. AMBASSADOR FOR IRAQ - 2004-05-03

“The sober reality is that destructive and divisive forces are working to undermine progress,” says John D. Negroponte, the person President George Bush nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Mr. Negroponte is the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He will take over his new role when sovereignty is returned to the Iraqi people:

“The conclusion of the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30th will mark a vital step toward realizing an independent, democratic, and stable Iraq at peace with its neighbors.”

Ambassador Negroponte says that Iraqis will exercise more and more control:

“In partnership with the people of Iraq, the U.S. Mission will support democratization and rule of law, promote economic development, and support efforts to restore security and eliminate terrorism. Visionary and courageous Iraqis developed a timetable and program for getting to democracy in the November 15th agreement, which they subsequently reaffirmed in the Transitional Administrative Law.”

Challenges remain in Iraq. John Negroponte says that the new government must “establish the conditions by which the Iraqi people can pursue their interests through legitimate political channels, rather than through violence and retribution”:

“The key to achieving lasting security in Iraq is building and strengthening the capacity of Iraq’s security services to deal with both domestic extremists and foreign terrorists. I can think of no more important task. We must do everything within our power to help the government and the courageous people of Iraq develop the capacity to defend themselves and maintain the kind of peace and tranquility that will permit their nation to go about its legitimate pursuits.”

Ambassador Negroponte says that, “As momentous as the transition to sovereignty for an interim government of Iraq will be, we should bear in mind that we are still in the early phase of Iraq’s reconstruction and rehabilitation.”