For Immediate Release
September 24, 2004
President Bush and His Administration Are Making Steady Progress in implementing his five-step plan toward completing the mission in Iraq.
The first step was achieved on June 28th, ahead of schedule, when the coalition transferred full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens.
The second step is to help Iraq's new government establish stability and security. Iraqi security forces are taking increasing responsibility for their country's security. With the help of the American military, the training of the Iraqi army is almost halfway complete.
The third step is to continue improving Iraq's infrastructure. On television sets around the world, we see acts of violence -- yet, in most of Iraq, children are about to go back to school, parents are going back to work and new businesses are being opened.
The fourth step in our plan is to enlist additional international support for Iraq's transition to democracy. The multinational force of some 30 nations continues to help secure a free Iraq. The coalition is grateful that the United Nations has reestablished its mission in Baghdad; and to the G-8 countries and the European Union for pledging their support. The coalition is grateful to the NATO Alliance for helping to train Iraqi forces; and to many of Iraq's creditors, which have agreed to a further reduction of Iraq's debt.
The fifth and most important step in our plan is to help Iraq conduct free national elections no later than next January. An Iraqi electoral commission is now up and running; has hired personnel; and is making key decisions about election procedures. The commission is informing Iraqis about the process and encouraging them to become voters. United Nations electoral advisors are on the ground in Iraq, as well.