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Text of Ambassador Bremer's Opening Remarks at the CPA Conference Center, Baghdad,
December 14th, 2003

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We got him!

Saddam Hussein was captured Saturday, December 13 at about 8:30 PM local in a cellar in the town of ad-Duar, which is some 15 kilometers south of Tikrit.

Before Dr. Pachachi, who is the acting president of the Governing Council, and Lt. General Sanchez speak, I want to say a few words to the people of Iraq.

This is a great day in your history.

For decades hundreds of thousands of you suffered at the hands of this cruel man.  For decades, Saddam Hussein divided you citizens against each other.  For decades he threatened and attacked your neighbors. 

Those days are over forever.

Now it is time to look to the future, to your future of hope, to a future of reconciliation.

Iraq’s future, your future, has never been more full of hope. 

The tyrant is a prisoner. 

The economy is moving forward. 

You have before you the prospect of sovereign government in a few months. 

With the arrest of Saddam Hussein, there is a new opportunity for members of the former regime, whether military or civilian, to end their bitter opposition.  

Let them come forward now in a spirit of reconciliation and hope, lay down their arms and join you, their fellow citizens, in the task of building the new Iraq.

Now is the time for all Iraqis—Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis, Shias, Christians and Turkomen-- to build a prosperous, democratic Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors. 



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