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Rice Gives Troops in Iraq Veterans Day Thank You

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2005 – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice paid a Veterans Day visit to troops in Iraq today to honor their service and joined them and Iraqi leaders in inaugurating the Nineveh Provincial Reconstruction Team, headquartered in Mosul.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice poses for a photo with senior U.S. and local Iraqi leaders during a Nov. 11 visit to Mosul, Iraq. Photo courtesy of Multinational Force Northwest

(Click photo for screen-resolution image)

The secretary met with leaders of the provincial government, including the governor, deputy governor, chairman of the Provincial Council and the chairman of the Provincial Reconstruction Development Team.

She also addressed soldiers from Multinational Force Northwest during a Veterans Day celebration. Rice told servicemembers deployed to Iraq she recognizes that the work they're doing isn't easy and is often dangerous, but emphasized that it's important for the long-term protection of America's freedoms.

"I just want to assure you that it is understood in America that it is also really, really important work," she said. "Indeed, it is work that is crucial to our own freedoms."

Helping the Iraqis secure their freedoms protects America's as well, because the two countries' fates and futures are linked, Rice said. "If Iraq does not succeed and should Iraq become a place of despair, generations of Americans would also be condemned to fear and to insecurity," she said.

The secretary praised the troops who, along with their coalition partners and other U.S. government agency staffs, are helping create conditions in Iraq that will enable Iraqis to secure their future. She told them she's watched in amazement as Iraqis have stepped forward, often at great personal risk, to promote freedom and stability in their country.

What once appeared to be impossible now seems inevitable, Rice said. She promised that the United States will remain steadfast in support of the Iraqi people. "Here in Iraq, we are going to stay committed, because the Iraqis -- a fine and brave, courageous people, a people of great culture, great intellectual breadth and of a great history -- are going to succeed," she said.

Rice traveled to the region Nov. 10 to focus on a variety of issues to promote peace and stability in the Middle East. She is slated to attend the two-day Forum for the Future Bahrain 2005, then visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

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