Bush Thanks Mongolia for Terror War Support
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2005 President Bush today thanked the people of Mongolia for helping bring about "a stunning transformation" in Iraq that he said is introducing freedom and democracy to people who had lived under tyranny and terror.
Bush became the first U.S. president to visit Mongolia, where he met with President Nambaryn Enkhbayar inside a ceremonial tent and inspected a Mongolian color guard before delivering an address at the Government House in Ulaanbaatar.
The president praised Mongolia for making its own transformation to democracy and an open economy, and said it has set an example for other countries around the world.
"Many of you still recall the exhilaration of voting freely for the first time after decades of tyranny" and of electing leaders and living under a constitutional that guarantees personal liberties, Bush told the crowd. "And now, because of the courage of Mongolian and coalition forces, the people of Iraq know this feeling as well."
In September, Mongolia sent its fifth rotation of forces to Iraq, where they are serving "with courage and great distinction," Bush said. Mongolian forces also are helping to train the Afghan military.
The president singled out two Mongolia soldiers, Sts. Azzaya and Sambuu-Yondon, who risked their lives to stop a suicide bomber who was attempting to drive a truck full of explosives into a coalition mess tent in Iraq. As the truck hurtled toward them, the soldiers opened fire, killing the terrorist before he could strike.
"As commander in chief of the United States armed forces, I thank these brave Mongolian soldiers, and all who have served on the front lines of the war on terror," Bush said. "The Mongolian armed forces are serving the cause of freedom and the United States armed forces are proud to serve beside such fearless warriors."
Like the communism that gripped Mongolia for decades, Islamic radicalism that terrorizes Iraq and other countries around the world will fail, Bush said. "Free people did not falter in the Cold War, and free people will not falter in the war on terror," he said.
"We see the determination to live in freedom in the courage of Iraqi and Afghan citizens who defied the terrorists to cast their ballots," he said. "And we've seen it in the daily courage of the Mongolian people who claimed their freedom 15 years ago, and are now standing with others across the world to help them do the same."
Bush announced Mongolia's eligibility for assistance under the Millennium Challenge Account, a new U.S. program that helps countries continue their ongoing reforms.
In addition, Mongolia will receive $11 million under the new U.S. Solidarity Initiative, which helps countries supporting the war on terror improve their military forces, the president said.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Mongolia on Oct. 22, when he praised the country's peacekeeping efforts and expressed personal thanks to almost 200 Mongolian soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You are a sovereign nation, and you made a choice," Rumsfeld said of Mongolia's decision to support the war on terror during his visit to Ulaanbaatar. "It showed political courage, and it showed personal courage on the part of your troops."