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L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Transition: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
12 April 2004

It is a great pleasure to be with you today.

Today we take an important step on Iraq’s path to sovereignty, elections and a democratic government. In 50 days occupation ends and Iraqis will once again exercise sovereignty over the Land between the Two Rivers.

But Iraqi autonomy in foreign affairs begins today with control over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formally passing to you, Mr. Minister.

Of course, as each of us here knows, this is a formality. Already for months the professionals of the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been making their own decisions and acting upon them.

And those decisions and acts, Mr. Minister, have led to a remarkable record of achievement:

• You and your colleagues have spearheaded Iraq’s reinstatement into the Arab League, the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
• You have reopened nearly fifty embassies and now offer effective and open consular services so that no Iraqi need fear seeking help and advice from his government.
• The visa policy you have developed will play an important part in excluding from Iraq those who would harm the national interest if admitted.

Mr. Minister, you and your highly skilled staff, working harmoniously with Senior Advisor Marc Sievers and his predecessors, have opened Iraq to the world, playing a critical role in ending the isolation Saddam both provoked and encouraged.

Mr. Minister, your description of the world that Iraq is re-entering as dangerous is apt, as is your recognition that the problems Iraq and so many others face are multi-faceted.

Your clear understanding of these challenges has proven invaluable in restructuring the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the help of Ambassador Edward Glover to meet the needs of a modern democracy. Your long-range strategy for the ministry is sound and your emphasis on gathering a new generation of diplomats to represent Iraq to the world will serve your country for years to come.

We were speaking before of how impressive this auditorium is, but you know, Mr. Minister, that what really impresses about the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs are not the spaces it occupies, but what you and your staff have accomplished.

On behalf of the Coalition, I congratulate you and each member of your team.

Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.
Aash al-Iraq!


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