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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 19, 2004
Statement by the Press Secretary
Last year on this day, terrorists in Iraq turned their violence against the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing many innocent Iraqi citizens and U.N. personnel, including the Secretary General's Special Representative Sergio Vieira de Mello. We deeply regret the loss of these committed and selfless individuals, who sacrificed their lives in order to help the Iraqi people move down the path towards a democratic country governed by the rule of law. We remember them today.
Every progress made in Iraq since the collapse of Saddam's regime is a victory against the terrorists and enemies of Iraq. The Iraqi people are advancing forward each day as demonstrated with yesterday's selection of a 100-member, multi-ethnic and multi-religious National Council. With the assistance of the United Nations, over 1000 delegates from all over the country gathered in Baghdad for a four-day National Conference to select this Council, which will provide oversight of the Iraqi Interim Government, including approval of the national budget.
The selection of the Council is a sign that the Iraqi people will not allow terrorist elements to stand in the way of their democratic future. Despite the challenges and dangers, the United States, along with our friends in the international community, are committed to the Iraqi people and their course toward self government and peace.