Bush Thanks Denmark for Troops, Pledges Iraq's Sovereignty
By Gene Harper
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 28, 2004 President Bush thanked Denmark for its troop support to Operation Iraqi Freedom during Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen's visit to the White House today.
"The moms and dads of those troops need to know they're performing brilliantly," Bush said. "They're good, strong soldiers who bring great credit to your country."
Rasmussen confirmed Denmark's commitment in Iraq. "We will stay and finish our job," he said. "Our common goal is to assist the Iraqi people in building a new, modern and democratic society."
Denmark has a battalion of 494 soldiers deployed to Iraq. It includes a light armored reconnaissance squadron, a special operation force detachment, a medi- cal platoon, and a mine-clearing and explosive ordnance disposal unit. Another staff officer element is embedded with the Polish-led Multinational Division Central South headquarters. Denmark also has troops assigned to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
The president also assured Rasmussen that the coalition would transfer full sovereignty to the Iraqi government. Rasmussen said Danish troops would remain in Iraq as long as that new government wants them.
Bush told the prime minister that the United States is working closely in the United Nations on a Security Council resolution. "I spoke to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin this morning about the resolution, and we agreed to work together on behalf of the Iraqi people and the new government," Bush said. "I told him that we would come up with an arrangement that would enable us to help the Iraqi people secure their country so that their country can move toward elections.
"I told him I would continue to work with countries around the world to build support for the new Iraqi government so that the Iraqi people have a chance to live in a free and just society, just like we do."
Rasmussen also emphasized the importance of transatlantic strength and the upcoming June 6 D-Day remembrance. "In a few days' time, we will commemorate the 60 years' anniversary of the allied invasion of Europe," he said. "We owe a great deal to the United States and Europe. Thousands of American lost their lives in Europe in the fight against Nazi tyranny, in the fight for freedom. And let this commemoration also be a reminder of our shared values and shared destiny."