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Negroponte Pledges "True Partnership" with Iraq Government

Statement by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, U.S. Representative to the United Nations, on the Situation in Iraq, in the Security Council, June 3, 2004

Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General. It is a pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Zebari back to the Council, this time in his capacity as Foreign Minister of the Iraqi Interim Government.

Mr. President, Iraq is poised to take a momentous step in its modern history. The new government named earlier this week will assume full sovereignty this month, and in the coming months, it will have the responsibility and authority for leading the people of Iraq to national elections by early next year.

Minister Zebari, the work, which lies ahead of your government, is exhilarating in its promise for the future, but we are sure that it will not be easy. You and your colleagues will be called on to demonstrate your commitment to the Iraqi people at a difficult and dangerous time. Those who deploy terror in an attempt to snatch hopes for the future from the Iraqi people will continue, and perhaps even redouble, their insidious and vicious attacks. We are sadly but acutely aware that you and your colleagues face personal risks by serving your country.

The United States warmly welcomes the formation of a cabinet of distinguished Iraqi men and women, who represent the breadth, talent and diversity of Iraqi society. As President Bush said on Tuesday, "the government has the talent, commitment and resolve to guide Iraq through
the challenges that lie ahead." The United States stands ready to assist
the Government of Iraq in achieving the goal of a secure, democratic Iraq, at peace with its neighbors. We look to Member States of the United Nations to join us in assisting the people of Iraq to realize that vision.

Mr. Secretary-General, we pay tribute to your Special Adviser, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, for his tireless work in setting the stage for a new Prime Minister's leadership of the Iraqi people. Ambassador Brahimi engaged in a vibrant consultation with hundreds, and even thousands of Iraqis, representing the diversity of Iraq. We expect to see this process continue, through the formation of a national council next month to advise and assist the interim government.

Today, as Minister Zebari joins us, the Security Council is considering a draft text circulated by my delegation and that of the United Kingdom. The draft salutes the new moment that we are facing in Iraq's history. The occupation of Iraq will end. The Iraqi people will assume full responsibility and authority for governing a proud and rich nation. The Council's timely passage of this resolution will bear witness to a fundamental change in the relationship between the Security Council and Iraq after nearly fourteen years following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

Minister Zebari, we welcome your presence here in New York and we welcome Iraq's contribution to the exchange of views on the resolution under discussion.

In the days ahead, my government and our multi-national force partners will engage the incoming Iraqi government on a broad range of issues, and in particular, on the nature of the security partnership between the multi-national force and the Iraqi people. The United States is committed to supporting the new Iraqi Government in its work to bring lasting stability to Iraq and to allow for free national elections by the end of January 2005. This will be a true partnership, founded on shared goals and tangible cooperation at all levels - from the soldiers on foot patrols to the highest levels of two sovereign governments.

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Minister Zebari, our work in the Security Council to support the Iraqi people will not end with the passage of this resolution, nor with the end of occupation: we must confront, with resolve and determination, those who seek to deny the Iraqi people the opportunity for democratic self-government and those who seek to sow instability, fear and terror in Iraq. The United States will not flinch in this task.

This is work that demands a shared effort, from the international community, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Iraqi people and with the Iraqi Interim Government, as they move along the path to elections and developing capable institutions for governance and as they work to create a stable, peaceful and democratic future for their country.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(end transcript)


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