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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-316187 Bush / France / Iraq (L)

DATE=MAY 25, 2004








INTRO: President Bush telephoned French President Jacques Chirac to ask for his support for a new U-N resolution on Iraq. From the White House, V-O-A's Scott Stearns reports, the French leader says the U-S and British proposal is a "good basis for discussion."

TEXT: President Bush says he and President Chirac share the same goals for Iraq: freedom, stability, and peace.

But with more than 130-thousand U-S troops set to stay in the country after the June handover of power, President Chirac says he wants to make sure that transfer of sovereignty is a real transfer. President Bush says it will be.

/// BUSH ACT ///

We want there to be a complete and real transfer of sovereignty so that Iraqi citizens realize the fate of their country is now their responsibility. And we will be there to help.

/// END ACT ///

President Bush says Washington will help by making sure U-S troops are there to work with Iraqi security forces and by ensuring that U-S reconstruction funds are well spent. He says he will continue to work with other countries to help aid a free Iraq and will do what needs to be done to help a new interim government succeed.

Mr. Bush wants a new U-N resolution to help legitimize a transitional government for Iraq ahead of elections for a national assembly next year. He will need French support to get that through the U-N Security Council. France led U-N opposition to last year's U-S-led invasion of Iraq.

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says the proposed resolution needs improvements. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the foreign minister said Iraq's main political parties should be brought together to approve the choice of a new interim government before a vote on a new U-N resolution.

French officials have also raised concerns about who will control Iraqi oil revenue after the transfer and how long a proposed multi-national security force will stay in the country.

The Bush administration says that force will remain under U-S control. As part of the proposed resolution, that force would be empowered to do whatever is necessary to maintain security.

President Bush says he has no doubt that Iraqi democracy will succeed and that success will help spread freedom throughout the Middle East.

/// 2nd BUSH ACT ///

A free Iraq will show the rest of the world that when people are given a chance to raise their families in peace and security, a civil society that is stable and hopeful will develop.

/// END ACT ///

President Bush will meet with President Chirac in Paris next month ahead of ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings which led to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.

Mr. Bush will continue his push for international support for a new U-N resolution on Iraq as host of the G-8 summit of industrialized nations shortly after the D-Day commemoration. He will also take that message to a NATO summit in Turkey just days before the June 30th handover of power. (SIGNED)


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