New U.S. Ambassador Meets With Senior Iraqi Officials
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2004 America's new ambassador to Iraq, John D. Negroponte, today presented his credentials to senior Iraqi government officials.
Negroponte introduced himself to Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawar and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari during a ceremony held in one of the interim government's buildings in Baghdad.
"I have just had the privilege of presenting my credentials to President Ghazi al-Yawar, who graciously welcomed me to his country as U.S. ambassador," Negroponte noted in a statement provided to reporters covering the meeting.
Negroponte reportedly arrived in Iraq on June 28, the day that former Coalition Provisional Authority chief Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III transferred sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government. Bremer left the country after the handover ceremony and Negroponte became the senior U.S. official in Iraq.
The restoration of full sovereignty to Iraq, Negroponte pointed out in his statement, paved the path for "establishment of normal diplomatic relations between two free, independent nations."
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad reportedly will be the largest in the world and will employ 1,000 American staffers and 700 foreign nationals.
Negroponte passed along President Bush's greetings to the Iraqi president, noting that the American Embassy's goal was to support Iraq.
The U.S. ambassador's statement listed three key objectives in meeting that goal:
- Assisting Iraq to defeat terrorists and criminals who oppose a free Iraq.
- Aiding reconstruction and economic development.
- Supporting Iraq's democratization and the rule of law.
Negroponte previously served as the U.S. envoy to the United Nations. He was sworn in as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq on June 23.