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L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Ministry of Agriculture Turnover
5 May 2004

This even marks another step on the path to full Iraqi sovereignty. It is especially important because agriculture began here and is important to all Iraqis. Agriculture made and makes civilization possible. Civilization requires the food surpluses necessary to give men and women the time to contemplate the ideals and beliefs that ennoble human beings. And it is civilization that sets us apart from animals. Those surpluses come only from agriculture and here is where this first happened.

It is here in this Land Between the two Rivers that the people who became Iraqis developed agriculture and then civilization. This makes agriculture special in Iraq because this is where agriculture began.

Today the Ministry of Agriculture, with all its enormous potential for the people of Iraq is fully vested in you, Mr. Minister, you and your colleagues. In 57 days this will be true for all the ministries and of of the government.

Well before June 30, when formal sovereignty passes from CPA to an interim government, Iraqis will control most ministries. And it is in the ministries that the work of government is done.

Mr. Minister, you and your colleagues here at the Ministry of Agriculture have accomplished a great deal.

• In the past year, the Ministry of Agriculture has rehabilitated Iraq’s agricultural colleges so that a new generation of Iraqis can carry forward the agricultural history begun here thousands of years ago.

• The Ministry has also secured and renovated 118 warehouses around the country in order to assure support for the Iraqi farmer.

• And the Ministry of Agriculture has planted date palm nurseries in 13 of Iraq’s 18 governates.

This last work has special resonance for the country which was once home of 629 separate species of date palms and dazzled the world with the variety and quality of its date exports.

Mr, Minister, the relationship between CPA and the Ministry has been extremely productive. Working with Senior Advisor Peter King of Australia and his predecessors, the Ministry has developed short and long-term strategies and put in place the financial, personnel and management systems necessary to implement those strategies.

Mr. King, you have added to Australia’s long-standing history of agricultural relations with Iraq, channeling into agriculture 40 of the 120 million Australian dollars your government has donated for the reconstruction of Iraq.

In the collaboration between Australia and Iraq on agricultural matters we see a model we hope can serve in many areas. Both Iraq and Australia must take advantage of the best available techniques for dry-land farming. You have shared in the past, you are still sharing and I hope you will share in the future.

The Ministry’s plans hold out the possibility of productivity and increased income for Iraq’s farmers and herders in the future.

Mr. Minister, I know the staff of the Ministry will do well. We have every confidence in you. But you should know that your friends from the Coalition stand ready to help in the days and months to come.

Mr. Minister, to you and to all members of your staff, I offer my congratulations and best wishes and those of the Coalition.

Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.
Aash al-Iraq!


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