For Immediate Release
February 26, 2003
Key Points from the President's Remarks on Iraq and the Middle East - 2/26/03
The Danger Posed by Saddam Hussein and His Weapons Cannot Be Ignored or Wished away. We hope the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the UN and
disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by
Acting against this danger will also contribute greatly to the
long term safety and stability of the Middle East and the world.
The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people
themselves. Their lives and freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein, but matter
greatly to us. If we must use force, the United States and our allies stand
ready to help the citizens of a liberated Iraq.
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many
nations, including our own: We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and
not a day more. The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant
resources, and skilled, educated people -- is fully capable of achieving democracy
and living in freedom.
The United States and other countries continue to work on a
roadmap for peace.
Success in Iraq could begin a new stage for Middle East peace, and
set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestine. A Palestinian state
must be reformed, peaceful and abandon forever the use of terror.
For its part, the new government of Israel - as security improves
- will be expected to support the creation of a Palestinian state and work
toward a final status agreement, and settlement activity must end.
And the Arab states will be expected to meet their
responsibilities to oppose terrorism, support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic
Palestine, and state clearly that they will live in peace with Israel.
In confronting Iraq, the US is also showing our commitment to
effective international institutions. If the UN Security Council responds to
Iraq's defiance with more excuses and delays, the UN will be severely
weakened as a source of stability and order. If the members rise to this moment,
the Council will fulfill its founding purpose.
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