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Bush Affirms Commitment to Iraqi Interim Government

Office of the Press Secretary
(Rome, Italy)
June 5, 2004


THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This has been an important week for the future of Iraq, for the Middle East, and for America's security. On Tuesday, in Baghdad, Iraq's new Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, and United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announced the members of Iraq's new interim government. Iraq's President is Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar, an engineer from northern Iraq. There will also be two Deputy Presidents, and a 33-member Cabinet.

This interim government reflects new leadership drawn from a broad cross-section of Iraqis. The new government brings together men and women of varied backgrounds who represent Iraq's ethnic and religious diversity. Five were regional officials, six are women, and all are Iraqi patriots, dedicated to building a brighter future for their country.

Naming this new government advances our five-step plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom as a united and federal nation. It brings us closer to realizing the hope of millions of Iraqis, a fully sovereign nation with a representative government to protect their rights and serve their interests. It brings us closer to seeing a Middle East that knows the blessings of liberty, and it brings us closer to defeating a ruthless enemy that has killed thousands of innocents and still threatens the peace of the world.

This new government will follow the political process outlined in the transitional administrative law, and prepare Iraq for a national election no later than January of next year. And while the enemy will continue to spread violence and fear, our coalition will work in full partnership with the new Iraqi government to provide the security that will make that election possible. In that election, the people of Iraq will choose a transitional national assembly, the first freely-elected, truly representative national governing body in Iraq's history.

Iraq is on the path to democracy and freedom, and the international community is helping Iraq complete the journey. We're working with allied governments and with Iraq's new leaders on a new United Nations Security Council resolution that will express international support for Iraq's interim government, reaffirm the world's security commitment to the Iraqi people, and encourage other U.N. members to join in the effort of building a free Iraq. And this month, I am traveling to foreign capitals and international summits to discuss with world leaders our common responsibility to help a free Iraq succeed.

Yesterday I was in Italy, where I met with the Holy Father. I also met with Prime Minister Berlusconi and joined in marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Rome. Today in France, I will meet with President Chirac, and on the 6th of June, I will join him in commemorating the D-Day landings at Normandy. From France, I will go directly to this year's G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia. This month, I will also attend the U.S.-EU Summit in Ireland, and the NATO Summit in Turkey. These meetings provide an opportunity for world leaders to show our solidarity with the Iraqi people as they build a free and democratic government.

The challenges of our time extend beyond Iraq. The war on terror is being fought on many fronts, and since September the 11th, we have seen terrorist violence from Morocco to Indonesia. Yet the center of this conflict remains the Middle East. If that region is abandoned to dictators and terrorists, it will be a constant source of violence and alarm, exporting killers of increasing sophistication and destructive power. If that region grows in democracy, prosperity and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits, and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business. It is our work to win this struggle.

We're now about three years into the war against terrorism. We've met great challenges and there are more ahead. This is no time for impatience or self-defeating pessimism. We have work to do in the defense of our country and for the good of humanity, and by doing our duty and holding firm to our values, this generation will give the world a lesson in the power of liberty.

Thank you for listening.


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