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6/11/04 - TOWARD IRAQI SOVEREIGNTY - 2004-06-14

Terrorists and remnants of the former Saddam Hussein regime are trying to stop the emergence of a sovereign Iraq. But that won’t happen. The U.S.-led coalition will turn over sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government on June 30th, and Iraqis, says President George W. Bush, will vote in “a national election no later than January of next year”:

“While the enemy will continue to spread violence and fear, our coalition will work in full partnership with the new Iraqi government to provide the security that will make that election possible. In that election, the people of Iraq will choose a transitional national assembly, the first freely-elected, truly representative national governing body in Iraq’s history.”

Iraq is on the path to democracy and freedom. President Bush says that Iraq’s “interim government reflects new leadership drawn from a broad cross-section of Iraqis”:

“The new government brings together men and women of varied backgrounds who represent Iraq’s ethnic and religious diversity. Five were regional officials, six are women, and all are Iraqi patriots, dedicated to building a brighter future for their country.”

Much work remains to be done. Those who use terror to try to undermine freedom in Iraq may continue their vicious attacks. But the U.S. will support the new Iraqi government in its work to make Iraq secure. Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s interim foreign minister, says, “any premature departure of international forces would lead to chaos and the real possibility of a civil war.”

In Iraq, and elsewhere, says President Bush, the U.S. has “met great challenges and there are more ahead”:

“This is no time for impatience or self-defeating pessimism.”

A free Iraq, says President Bush, “brings us closer to realizing the hope of millions of Iraqis, a fully sovereign nation with a representative government to protect their rights and serve their interests.”