New U.S. Ambassador 'Horrified' By Iraq Violence
Baghdad, 21 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said today he is horrified at the level of violence wracking the country, and that Islamic extremists and former members of Saddam Hussein's outlawed Ba'ath Party are trying to start a civil war in Iraq.
"Foreign terrorists and hard-line Ba'athists want Iraq to descend into civil war. Foreign terrorists are using the Iraqi people as cannon fodder. They care nothing about Iraq or the Iraqis. Their goal is the domination of the Islamic world and the promotion of global conflict," Khalilzad was quoted by RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq as saying. "Hard-line Ba'athists who commit crimes against the Iraqi people are working to foster an all-out civil war in the hope of either restoring dictatorship and their control of Iraq, or taking the country down with them. They will fail."
He continued: "I am horrified by the daily suffering of the Iraqi people. The terrorists attack ordinary people, teachers, doctors, newly trained police and others who are assisting the people of Iraq."
He added further: "I will support the efforts of the Iraqis to develop a unifying vision, a national compact. This vision should be enshrined in an enlightened and sound constitution that embraces democracy, pluralism and individual rights. The process must be inclusive. For Iraq to achieve its full potential, no community or sector should be marginalized."
The U.S. Senate earlier this month confirmed President George W. Bush's appointment of Khalizad as ambassador. The ambassador presented his credentials today to Talibani.
Full text of speech as reported by Radio Free Iraq:
"I am delighted to return to Iraq, I look forward to working with all Iraqis, to achieve our common objectives of building a successful Iraq. Iraq faces great challenges. Iraq must succeed, the stakes are great. For Iraqis, for the United States, for the region and indeed for the world. America's commitment for Iraq is strong and unshakable. Foreign terrorists and hard-line Ba'athists want Iraq to descend into civil war. Foreign terrorists are using the Iraqi people as cannon fodder. They care nothing about Iraq or the Iraqis. Their goal is the domination of the Islamic world and the promotion of global conflict. Hard-line Ba'athists who commit crimes against the Iraqi people are working to foster an all-out civil war in the hope of either restoring dictatorship and their control of Iraq or taking the country down with them. They will fail.
"The Iraqi people want to build a successful nation, like people everywhere, they want a country in which their families can live normal lives in peace and prosperity. I'm horrified by the daily suffering of the Iraqi people. The terrorists attack ordinary people: teachers, doctors, newly trained police and others who are assisting the people of Iraq. At the same time, Iraqis have the unprecedented opportunity to become a model of moderate, democratic, and pluralistic politics and governance for the wider region.
"To end the suffering of the people, and help Iraqis seize this moment, I will work in partnership with Iraqis and other regional and international partners including the United Nations on three fundamental objectives. I will support the effort of the Iraqis to develop a unifying vision, a national compact for Iraq's future. This vision should be enshrined in an enlightened and sound constitution that embraces democracy, pluralism, and individual rights. The process must be inclusive for Iraq to achieve it's full potential, no community or sector should be marginalized. I will work with Iraqis and others to break the back of the insurgency. In addition to a sound constitution, success against the insurgency will require joint efforts by the United States, others in the international community, and Iraqis to continue to increase the size and the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces. All Iraqis must have confidence in these forces. I will work with our military leaders and with the leaders of Iraq to increase security and protect the people from insurgent attacks and intimidation. Iraqis must see improvement in their daily lives.
"I look forward to sitting down with Iraqis to listen to their priorities and develop common approaches to improve economic conditions and the delivery of essential services by accelerating reconstruction and building a new prosperity in Iraq. Iraqi success requires a vibrant civil society, women's participation, a transparent and fully functional judicial system, a free press, a functioning infrastructure, and a government that can meet the many pressing needs of the Iraqi people. Together with Iraqis and others, I will focus on strengthening the institutions of democracy.
"Now I want to focus directly to the Iraqi people: Iraq is a great country, with a glorious history. This country has been the center of great civilizations. While it suffered through periods of darkness, it has known eras of glory and great flourishing culture. Now, it's poised for greatness again. Iraq has all the necessary elements, including natural resources, the right ratio of land and water to population, and human capacity to achieve greatness on the world stage. It has friends such as the Untied States who can assist with some of the elements of success such as modern technology that are needed. Despite the great suffering that you've experienced, I know that most of you remain hopeful about the future. You have committed yourself to democracy and deserve the very best from all who care about both freedom and about Iraq.
"I will listen to your concerns, your fears, and your hopes. I promise to work as hard as I can to help you succeed. May God bless the people of Iraq."
Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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