For Immediate Release
November 25, 2004
From remarks by Secretary of State Powell after the International Ministerial Meeting of the countries neighboring Iraq, the G-8 and China, Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, 11/23/04
Iraq's neighbors and the international community have come together to support enhanced stability, faster economic reconstruction in Iraq, and to support free and fair elections in Iraq at the end of January 2005.
The conference was held on the heels of two important developments: Iraq's Paris Club creditors have rescheduled 80 percent of Iraq's official debt and, the Iraqi Government has set January 30th as the date for elections.
The coalition, augmented by NATO and other nations, is helping Iraq train its security forces so Iraq can become increasingly responsible for its own security, and coalition forces can play a lesser role.
The Iraqi Government, supported by the coalition, is reasserting government control in Fallujah, Samarra, and other Iraqi cities which have been previously lost to terrorists, insurgents, and murderers who do not want the Iraqi people to live in freedom or have open, free, fair elections.
These developments -- elections, debt relief, and government control -- form the basis for fulfillment of Resolution 1546: a democratic Iraq at peace with its people and with all of its neighbors.
All at the Ministerial Conference pledged to support national reconciliation through dialogue and democratic participation.
Conference participants condemned acts of terrorism in Iraq and vowed to prevent the transit of terrorists, to prevent arms from flowing across borders to the terrorists, and to keep financing from crossing borders coming out of neighboring states.
Ultimately, success will bring freedom, peace, and prosperity to Iraq, to the region, and to the world.