For Immediate Release
August 26, 2006
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
Last month, I addressed the United Nations, and told member countries that the peace and security of Iraq are essential to the peace and security of all free nations. I encouraged countries to help the people of Iraq to build a future of freedom and stability. I also called for a U.N. resolution supporting the efforts of our coalition in Iraq. The Security Council has now responded, by unanimously passing Resolution 1511, which endorses a multinational force in Iraq under U.S. command, and urges greater international support for Iraqi reconstruction.
In recent weeks, leaders of South Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, Spain, and other nations have committed billions of dollars to Iraqi reconstruction. This week brought even more progress. In Madrid, representatives of more than 70 nations and international bodies -- including the World Bank, UNICEF, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference -- gathered to discuss the future needs of Iraq, and the ways in which other countries can help. And these nations and international organizations pledged billions of dollars to aid the reconstruction of Iraq.
This growing financial support will allow us to build on the success of the broad military coalition already serving in Iraq. Today, American forces in Iraq are joined by about 24,000 troops from 32 other countries -- including Great Britain, Poland, The Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Thailand, El Salvador, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, and the Philippines. Coalition forces are helping to hunt down the terrorists and Saddam holdouts, clearing mines from Iraqi waterways so that aid shipments can proceed, and coordinating the recruitment and training of a new Iraqi police force, army, and border police.
Members of our coalition are also showing the compassion of our cause in Iraq. We are rebuilding schools, and clinics, and power plants. The Iraqi people are moving steadily toward a free and democratic society. Economic life is being restored to the cities. A new Iraqi currency is circulating. Local governments are up and running. And Iraq will soon begin the process of drafting a constitution, with free elections to follow.
There is still difficult work ahead, because freedom has enemies in Iraq. Terrorists and loyalists of the former regime reveal their true character by their choice of targets: They have attacked diplomats, and embassies, relief workers, and the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad -- all symbols of the international effort to help the Iraqi people.
America and the international community will not be intimidated. Every coalition member understands that Iraq must never again become the home of tyranny and terror, and a threat to the world. So we will be patient, and determined, and unified. America will continue working with the United Nations and our coalition partners to finish the work we have begun. Having liberated Iraq from a brutal tyrant, we will stand with the people of Iraq as that country becomes more stable, secure, and free.
Thank you for listening.