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For Immediate Release
December 4, 2003

Global Message

From remarks to the press by Secretary of State Colin Powell, En route to Marrakesh, Morocco, 12/2/03

The Iraqi Governing Council consists of 25 individuals who represent the different groups throughout the country.

Council members are participating in open debates and are discussing the way forward. It is a challenging, but interesting period. We should be encouraged that this kind of discussion is taking place.

The plan that the Governing Council announced November 15 and presented to the United Nations in response to Resolution 1511 is their plan. Now they have to sell that plan throughout the countryside.

Under Iraqi sovereignty, the country can write a complete constitution that will be taken to the people for their approval, and from that constitution, have a basis for elections. Then, the Iraqi people can make the final determination of the nature of their government and who their leaders will be.

Iraq is going to be a state that will respect the religion of Islam. That is not to say there cannot also be a democracy.

It will be up to the Iraqi people to determine how to put respect for their religion into their governing documents in a way that doesn't disrespect anyone else's religion, or causes the country to go in a direction which would be anti-democratic and would not be supportive of the interests of all Iraqi people.

How they decide this will be up to them as they work through their administrative law and as they work toward the development of a constitution. We will help them and we will guide them. We also think others will help them, and we hope the U.N. will help them.

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