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DATE: 7 July


PR No. 0013


Mr Chairman, Madam Deputy Chair, members of the Interim City Advisory Council, I am honored to be asked to address you at your inaugural session, and to be among the first to congratulate the 37 of you as you take up your posts. Today is a very important day for the whole of Baghdad, perhaps the most important day since April 9, when coalition forces entered the city and the former, dictatorial regime was brought to an end. For today marks the resumption of a democratic system in Baghdad after the long 30 years of Saddam Hussein’s brutal reign. You, the members of this Council, were all freely elected by the citizens of Baghdad. You and your colleagues on the Neighborhood and District Councils carry the confidence and the expectations of those who elected you.   As always elections bring with it heavy responsibility: you will be expected to live up to the high standards which are demanded of those serving in public office. And you, in particular, the 37 who were chosen from among the Neighborhood Council members to serve at district level, and now at city level, have the highest responsibility of all. We in the Coalition are confident that you will rise to the challenge. You have volunteered for public service at a time when malicious, elements of the former regime still represent a threat to the peace-loving citizens of Baghdad. You have shown courage and honor; perseverance and self-confidence. You share a desire to redress the wrongs of the former regime and to improve the lives of your fellow Baghdadis. In the weeks and months ahead you will have to work on 3 important areas:
  • you will provide a forum for Baghdad’s citizens to identify and discuss issues of local of concern
  • you will offer advice and suggestions to the coalition and to Baghdad’s municipal and ministry administrators
  • to supervise these administrators in their work as they manage basic services for the citizens of Baghdad.
You are the means by which the citizens of Baghdad can participate in rebuilding this city’s infrastructure and institutions. I give you my word that the Coalition will certainly listen closely to your views and advice, and expect members of the Municipal Executive Council and the Ministries to do the same. In the broader sense with the inception of this Council, Iraqis are moving towards the day in which they wil,l in the weeks ahead, establish a freely elected representative national government. With an accurate census, under a new constitution written by Iraqis for Iraqis, the stage will be set for elections. These will bring in a sovereign Iraqi Government. At that point the Coalition’s job will be done. What is happening today is an important step on the way to democracy for all Iraqis. On behalf of the Coalition I congratulate you on your election.


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