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Rice Calls on All Nations to Back Iraqi Government's Goals

More than 80 nations show support for Iraq at Brussels conference

Posted: June 22, 2005 Related item: Secretary Rice travels to Middle East, Europe  

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged all nations to recall how they have benefited from the help of other countries in their struggles against tyranny and to provide support for the new Iraqi government as it works to establish democratic institutions, economic prosperity and security.

“At some time in the histories of each and every country around this table, somebody had to help as other countries emerged from tyranny into democracy,” Rice said at the close of the International Conference on Iraq in Brussels, Belgium, June 22. “The Iraqi people now need our help. Because they need our help and because they have spoken so clearly and so directly, we know what it is that we need to do.”

Representatives from more than 80 nations gathered in Brussels to listen to the goals and priorities of the Iraqi government and consider ways that the international community can support the government in its efforts to build political institutions, revitalize the economy and re-establish security.

“The Iraqis themselves will set the course of Iraq's future,” Rice said. “But they will not bear the weight of their responsibilities alone. Iraq has many allies in the international community, as we are demonstrating that with this remarkable gathering here today.”

The secretary urged all countries to provide the material support they have pledged to Iraq. She also called on neighboring states to ensure that their borders are not serving as points of passage for those who would try to stop Iraq’s political progress. She quoted Iraqi Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi as saying, “Terrorism can be defeated in Iraq, it will be defeated in Iraq, and when it is defeated in Iraq, at the heart of the Middle East, it will be a death knell for terrorism as we know it.”

Rice called Iraq “a great culture and a great people who are finally throwing off years and decades of tyranny and horror for their people to try and build a free and democratic future.”

Secretary Rice attended the meeting in Brussels after spending several days in the Middle East. For additional information about the secretary’s travels, see Secretary Rice’s Trip to the Middle East and Europe.

Following are the transcripts of Rice’s opening and closing remarks:

(begin transcript)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Brussels, Belgium)
June 22, 2005

REMARKS

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
At the Opening Session of the International Conference on Iraq

June 22, 2005
Brussels, Belgium

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Asselborn, for that kind introduction. Prime Minister Ja'afari, Secretary General Annan, Foreign Minister Zebari, Ladies and Gentlemen: On behalf of President Bush, I am pleased to join you as we open this very important conference on Iraq.

Over 80 nations have gathered at the request of the Iraqi Transitional Government. We have agreed to work together to build a renewed international partnership with Iraq. And we look forward to hearing Iraq's new leaders describe their vision for the free future of their country.

In just one year, the citizens of Iraq have begun an unprecedented political journey -- a journey as hopeful as it is difficult. In the face of terror, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis are displaying tremendous courage and making remarkable progress. They regained their sovereignty. Then despite signs saying, "Vote and you die" eight and half million men and women participated in Iraq's free elections. Now, they are writing a constitution. The brave people of Iraq are asking us to stand with them -- and they deserve our full support.

So today in Brussels, we begin a new conversation between the international community and the democratic government of a free Iraq. This partnership will support the Iraqi government along three important fronts: political reform, economic reconstruction, and strengthening security with the rule of law.

We all recognize our obligation to help Iraq fulfill the promise of its democratic transformation. Iraq's neighbors -- Syria, in particular -- must secure their borders from those who seek to destroy Iraq's progress. And all countries must deliver the material support they have already pledged to the government of Iraq.

Iraq, in turn, has obligations of its own. To maximize the financial benefits of assistance, the new Iraqi government must continue to improve security, liberalize its economy, and open political space for all members of Iraqi society who reject violence. Building the institutions of democracy is essential to Iraq's long-term success.

The Iraqis themselves will set the course of Iraq's future. But they will not bear the weight of their responsibilities alone. Iraq has many allies in the international community, as we are demonstrating that with this remarkable gathering here today. So let us move forward together, toward the goals of freedom and democracy that we all share.

I would now like to welcome my colleague to the stage United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
June 22, 2005

REMARKS

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
At the Closing Session of the International Conference on Iraq

June 22, 2005
Brussels, Belgium

(10:55 a.m. EDT)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. I would like very much to thank the European Union for co-hosting this conference. I would like to thank Secretary General Annan for being here on behalf of the United Nations which critically will play a role here in Iraq over the next several months in helping the Iraqi people prepare for their historic elections for a permanent government at the end of the year. We have had an opportunity as an international community to hear from this fine team of Iraqis about their aspirations, about their ambitions, about their needs as they move forward.

We are witnessing as an international community the emergence, of course, of an Iraq free of tyranny, a great culture and a great people who are finally throwing off years and decades of tyranny and horror for their people to try and build a free and democratic future.

It is, of course, a process that is challenged by evil people who would try and destroy those hopes and dreams, and I very much here want to associate myself with something that the Defense Minister said earlier: Terrorism can be defeated in Iraq, it will be defeated in Iraq, and when it is defeated in Iraq, at the heart of the Middle East, it will be a death knell for terrorism as we know it.

And so we do this as an international community because a great people are emerging from tyranny into freedom, because our own security is dependent on the defeat of terrorism in this great region, and also because we have a moral responsibility. At some time in the histories of each and every country around this table, somebody had to help as other countries emerged from tyranny into democracy, as they defeated fascism on the continent of Europe with the help of others. At some time, each and every one of us needed the help of others.

The Iraqi people now need our help. Because they need our help and because they have spoken so clearly and so directly, we know what it is that we need to do. And I just want to encourage each and every country at this table that has spoken about the obligation, that has spoken about our ambitions and that has spoke about what we are willing to do, that we will now go and do it. Because the Iraqi people have taken a great risk. They are a courageous people who are working toward democracy and freedom. Let us support them fully and wholeheartedly.

Thank you very much.

(end transcript)

 

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