Bush: Resolution Passage Marks 'Important Day' for Iraq
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 9, 2004 The passage of a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq marks "an important day for the Iraqi people," President Bush noted today at the G8 summit at Sea Island, Ga.
Accompanied by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush told reporters that "the United Nations Security Council unanimously expressed the desire for Iraq to be free and peaceful."
The U.N. Security Council voted 15-0 June 8 to approve the U.S.-British-backed Resolution 1546, which effectively provides international legitimacy for the Iraqi interim government slated to take power June 30.
Bush praised Blair for his help in getting the resolution through, and the British prime minister reciprocated his thanks to the president.
Now, the international community is united with the people of Iraq in creating "a stable and democratic country," Blair pointed out.
The "terrorists and the fanatics and the extremists who are trying to stop this democracy (from) happening," Blair noted, "know they've got the whole of the world against them."
About 160,000 U.S. and coalition forces are conducting stability operations across Iraq. Bush said he'd like NATO countries with forces in Iraq to continue their involvement there, and "hopefully expand it somewhat."
Now's the time, Blair observed, "for the new Iraqi government to sit down with the multinational force and work out how, over time, the Iraqi capability for security can be established and built up."
Iraqi security capability has "gaps," Blair acknowledged. But, he emphasized, "we are there to help them and make sure that the Iraqis ultimately can take care of their own security."
Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar is attending the G8 summit. Bush said he'd thank the Iraqi statesman "for having the courage to stand up and lead, and tell him that America will help him."
Yawar, Bush observed, "is the president of a sovereign nation." Iraq soon will assume its own national affairs, Bush pointed out. "When we say transfer full sovereignty, we mean transfer full sovereignty," he said.
Bush noted that Yawar had earlier thanked him for the sacrifices of U.S. and coalition troops.
"The American people need to know that there are some people in Iraq who are deeply grateful to the fact that our sons and daughters have died for their freedom," Bush said, noting he was sure "the people of Great Britain want to hear that same message."
Asked by a reporter to comment about insurgents in Iraq who likely care nothing for U.N. Resolution 1546, Bush replied: "They are not going to drive us out of Iraq because of their random killing. We will not be intimidated by their murderous ways."
Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi stated in Baghdad today that the new U.N. resolution "guarantees that the interim government will construct the armed forces and security forces in partnership with the multinational forces."
The Iraqi prime minister added, "The international forces will be working under the umbrella of the United Nations and under the review of the Iraqi government."
A year from now, "the Iraqi government might end the task of the multinational forces whenever it thinks it's the proper time," Allawi noted. That time would come, he said, "when Iraqi forces alone are able to maintain security all over the country and stop the killing and the explosions."
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John D. Negroponte witnessed the Security Council voting on Resolution 1546 at U.N. headquarters in New York. The Security Council consists of five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, and 10 others elected by the U.N. General Assembly for two-year terms.
After years of oppression and war, "the Iraqi people are determined to create a new reality," said Negroponte, President Bush's pick to be U.S. ambassador to Iraq, just after the Security Council voting was tallied.
The new resolution marks "strengthened international resolve to work together for a democratic, secure and prosperous Iraq," the U.S. diplomat noted.
"International assistance can and should enhance their prospects for success," Negroponte concluded.