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 Home > News & Policies > April 2003

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Excerpts from the Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer, April 16, 2003 (Full Transcript)

QUESTION: In his remarks you said he'll talk about how now that people of Iraq are liberated, the United Nations should lift economic sanctions. Is he calling on the United Nations to lift economic sanctions?

MR. McCLELLAN: We previously said that once the regime is removed and the Iraqi people are free, that the sanctions should be lifted. And now --

QUESTION: He's going to reinforce that or --

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, he'll mention that in his remarks when he talks about the future of Iraq -- that now with the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime the web of sanctions on Iraq is no longer necessary and should be lifted. Those aren't words in his speech, but that's kind of giving you some context to this. These are sanctions that prohibit countries from buying oil, or from selling goods to Iraq, other than through the Oil for Food program.

And those are no longer needed, those sanctions. In the future, Iraq should be able to trade freely. And we need to transition from the Oil for Food program as soon as possible and help restore a normal trading relationship with the global economy. So in the near future we'll seek a resolution to those sanctions on Iraq.

QUESTION: Could this be interpreted as a declaration that the war is over?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think the President will continue to emphasize what he talked about just as recently as yesterday, that we have made tremendous progress, but there are still objectives that we are working to accomplish. And he will remind people of that.

QUESTION: Well, the regime is over, so therefore the sanctions can be lifted, but the war is not over?

MR. McCLELLAN: What's that?

QUESTION: The regime has ended, so, therefore, the sanctions can be lifted -- but the war has not ended?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well there still -- as CENTCOM and the Pentagon have indicated, there still are military operations ongoing; there are still objectives that we're working to accomplish. While the major combat operations may be over, there is still a military conflict going on.