For Immediate Release
February 2, 2005
Iraq Elections: What the World Is Saying
Statements from World Leaders
Australian Prime Minister John Howard: "The turnout was a wonderful testament to the character of the people of Iraq and a reminder that no matter how fierce and gruesome and powerful the intimidation might be, when people have a taste and an opportunity of freedom, they will take hold of it."
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel Gucht: "We should be showing our deep respect towards all the men and women who are risking their lives in order to cast their vote."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "It was moving and humbling... to see the simple determination and clear-sighted courage of millions of Iraqis exercising the right to vote for the first time in their lives. A democratic Iraq is not just a giant step forward for Iraq itself; it is a blow right at the heart of the global terrorism...."
Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew: "This Sunday marks an important milestone in Iraq's political transition toward a stable and functioning democracy.... Despite obvious challenges, Iraqis have shown determination and commitment to their electoral process."
Hungarian Foreign Minister Ferenc Somogyi: "We sympathize with those brave Iraqis who, notwithstanding the violence directed primarily against their own people, have chosen to participate politically, formed numerous parties, and laid the foundations of local public life, and who wish to advance their efforts through political rivalry instead of terror."
Indonesian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Marty Natalegawa: "Their active participation, despite the very difficult security situation, reflects a commendable determination to seize their own destiny in restoring sovereignty and in establishing a democratic Iraq."
Jordan's King Abdullah II: "If we have good examples of democratic process, whether it's in Iraq or with the Palestinians, it does help countries such as Jordan to be able to push the envelope. So I think what we saw yesterday in Iraq is a positive thing. I think it is a thing that will set a good tone for the Middle East, and I'm very optimistic."
New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff: "These elections represent a key step toward achieving a democratic and peaceful Iraq."
Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski: "These elections show we are dealing with an optimistic scenario. ... For sure the high election turnout shows the Iraqis, in contrast to the black scenarios and various predictions, have made this their day, their celebration."
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes: "The future of Iraq will be determined by Iraqis themselves. That is the message coming from today's elections."
Russian President Vladimir Putin: "The conditions for the election in Iraq were, to put it mildly, very difficult. At the same time it is a step in the right direction; it is a positive event."
South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Ban Ki-moon: "We highly praise and celebrate Iraq's general elections, which we have viewed as an opportunity to bring peace and stability to the nation."
Swiss Foreign Ministry: "The Iraqi people demonstrated great courage and, in many places, defied the massive threats by the armed rebellion. For this they deserve the respect of the international community."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan: "The Iraqis who turned out today are courageous; they know that they are voting for the future of their country. We must encourage them and support them to take control of their destiny."
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, "The international community hopes this day may magnify a future of peace."