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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 20, 2006

President Congratulates Iraqis on Formation of New Unity Government

      In Focus: Renewal in Iraq

I congratulate Prime Minister Maliki on the formation of Iraq's new unity government. Iraqis now have a fully constitutional government, marking the end of a democratic transitional process in Iraq that has been both difficult and inspiring. This broadly representative unity government offers a new opportunity for progress in Iraq.

The new government reflects Iraq's diversity and opens a new chapter in that country's history. Iraq's new leaders know the period ahead will be filled with great challenge. But they also know that they -- and their great country -- will not face them alone. The United States and freedom-loving nations around the world will stand with Iraq as it takes its place among the world's democracies and as an ally in the war on terror.

Today, as Iraqis look to their new government, they can be proud that in three years they have progressed from the oppression of a brutal dictator who fomented sectarian divides to an elected government in which all Iraqis have a voice. As Iraq's leaders work together to chart the future of their nation, bringing freedom and security to the Iraqi people, they make the world a safer place for all of us. The sacrifices of many of our country's noblest and bravest have helped make this day possible. We will not forget their contribution to our security and Iraq's democracy.

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