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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

29 August 2005

Britain's Blair Praises Completion of Iraqi Constitution Draft

Prime Minister urges participation in constitutional referendum in October

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hailed the announcement of a new Iraqi constitution as “an important and historic achievement” after the Iraqi parliament approved the document August 28.

“The small minority who have chosen violence over democracy will no doubt respond with bloodshed and intimidation.  But they can be defeated if Iraq’s communities work together to build a unified Iraq in which the rights and interests of all are respected,” Blair said in a statement released August 29.  He urged Iraqi voters to participate in the constitutional referendum scheduled for October and in national elections scheduled for December.

“The United Kingdom will continue to support the Iraqi people as they work for a democratic and united future in Iraq,” he added.

Both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued August 28 statements of congratulations to the Iraqi people for successfully completing their new draft constitution.

For additional information, see Iraq’s Political Process.

Following is the text of Blair’s statement on the Iraqi constitution:

(begin text)

Prime Minister’s Office
10 Downing Street
29 August 2005

PM STATEMENT ON THE IRAQ CONSTITUTION

Today's announcement of a new Iraqi constitution is an important and historic achievement.

The ethnic and religious diversity of Iraq made this a particularly complex task. But compromise is the essence of democracy.  This text is testimony to the determination of the Iraqi people to build a free, secure and democratic future. It protects the rights of all Iraq's communities and the unity of Iraq.

The small minority who have chosen violence over democracy will no doubt respond with bloodshed and intimidation.  But they can be defeated if Iraq's communities work together to build a unified Iraq in which the rights and interests of all are respected.  It is vital that each of those communities participate fully in the democratic political process, including the referendum in October and elections in December. 

The United Kingdom will continue to support the Iraqi people as they work for a democratic and united future in Iraq.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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