President Bush Outlines the Strategy for Iraq's Transition from
Dictatorship to Freedom
"Above all, the defeat of violence and terror in Iraq is vital to
the defeat of violence and terror elsewhere; and vital, therefore, to
the safety of the American people. Now is the time, and Iraq is the
place, in which the enemies of the civilized world are testing the will
of the civilized world. We must not waver." --President Bush, 4/13/04
Troop strength, now and in the future, is determined by the
situation on the ground. If additional forces are needed, they will be
sent. If additional resources are needed, they will be provided.
America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm: We seek
an independent, free and secure Iraq. We have set a deadline of June
30th for the transfer of sovereignty back to the Iraqi people. It is
important that we meet that deadline.
Sovereignty requires Iraqis to assume responsibility for their
own future. In Fallujah, coalition forces have suspended offensive
operations, allowing members of the Iraqi Governing Council and local
leaders to work on the restoration of central authority in that city.
The transition to sovereignty requires that we demonstrate
confidence in Iraqis, and we have that confidence. The transition to
sovereignty also requires an atmosphere of security, and our coalition
is working to provide that security. The United States will continue
taking the greatest care to prevent harm to innocent civilians; yet we
will not permit the spread of chaos and violence.
On June 30th, Iraqi officials will assume full responsibility
for the ministries of government. The transitional administrative law,
including a bill of rights that is unprecedented in the Arab world,
will take full effect. The United States and the coalition will
establish normal diplomatic relations with the Iraqi government. An
American embassy will open, and an American ambassador will be posted.
Iraq will hold elections for a national assembly no later than
next January. The national assembly will draft a new, permanent
constitution which will be presented to the Iraqi people in a national
referendum held in October 2005.
Iraqis will elect a permanent government by December 15, 2005,
which will mark the completion of Iraq's transition from dictatorship
Other nations and international institutions are stepping up to
their responsibilities in building a free and secure Iraq. The United
States is working closely with the United Nations envoy and with Iraqis
to determine the exact form of the government that will receive
sovereignty on June 30th. The United Nations election assistance team
is in Iraq, developing plans for next January's election. NATO is
providing support for the Polish-led multinational division in Iraq and
17 of NATO's 26 members are contributing forces to maintain security.
Iraq's neighbors also have responsibilities to make their region
more stable. President Bush is sending Deputy Secretary of State
Armitage to the Middle East to discuss with these nations our common
interest in a free and independent Iraq, and how they can help achieve
Our commitment to the success and security of Iraq will not end
on June 30th. On July 1st, and beyond, our reconstruction assistance
and military commitment will continue. Coalition military forces will
help Iraqis to protect their government from external aggression and