Bush Lauds New Iraqi Government
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 7, 2005 President Bush has extended congratulations to Iraq's Transitional National Assembly on its selection of its next president and two deputy presidents.
Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, was formally sworn in as president today. Ghazi al-Yawer, who had been serving as Iraq's interim president, and Adil Abd al-Mahdi were also formally sworn in as deputy presidents.
"Iraq's Transitional National Assembly took a momentous step forward in Iraq's transition to democracy," Bush said of the April 6 election of Iraq's presidency council by an overwhelming majority.
Talabani has been a longtime opponent of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. His vice presidents represent two other major groups in Iraq: Mahdi is a Shiite, and Yawar a Sunni.
Immediately after its swearing in, the council named Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite Arab, as Iraq's interim prime minister. Jaafari's first order of business will be to name his cabinet.
Bush praised these steps as important progress for Iraq. "The new Iraqi government will then begin its important work of writing a new constitution, continuing to train Iraqi security forces, delivering basic services, and advancing Iraq's transformation from dictatorship to democracy," the president said in a statement issued April 6.
Bush reaffirmed the United States' support for this process. "The Iraqi people have shown their commitment to democracy, and we, in turn, are committed to Iraq," he said. "We look forward to working with this new government, and we congratulate all Iraqis on this historic day."
Jaafari, formerly Iraq's interim vice president, has proven to be a solid supporter of coalition operations in Iraq.
"We, the Iraqi people, are in our democratic infancy," he told the American Forces Press Service on March 19, the second anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "And as we take our first steps, we appreciate the protection and help that enable us to move forward to our democratic future."