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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

22 May 2006

Bush Says New Iraqi Government a "Decisive Break with the Past"

Iraqi people have no limit to their potential if they remain united, president says

Washington -- President Bush praised the formation of Iraq’s new government and said that as long as the Iraqi people remain united, there is “no limit to the potential of their country.”

Speaking in Chicago May 22, Bush said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s formation of Iraq’s first permanent democratically elected government “marks a victory for the cause of freedom in the Middle East.”

The new government “has strong leaders that will represent all of the Iraqi people,” and are committed to serving everyone in Iraq, regardless of religious or ethic identification, the president said.

By representing all Iraqi communities, the new government makes a “decisive break with the past,” and will provide a better future for the Iraqi people.

“Iraqis are determined to chart their own future and now they have the leadership to do it,” Bush said.  (See related article.)

The formation of the government also opens a “new chapter” in U.S.-Iraqi relations, Bush said.  “The new Iraqi government does not change America's objectives or our commitment, but it will change how we achieve those objectives and how we honor our commitment.”

The president acknowledged “setbacks and missteps,” including the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib.  These “were felt immediately and have been difficult to overcome,” he said, but “we have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror.”

The terrorists in Iraq can “kill the innocent but they can’t stop the advance of freedom,” and “now the day they feared has arrive,” with the formation of Iraq’s new government, Bush said.

“Something fundamental changed,” with the May 20 formation of Prime Minister al-Maliki’s government,” he said.  “The terrorists are now fighting a free and constitutional government.  They are at war with the people of Iraq.”

The president predicted that years later, people will look back and see this establishment of Iraq’s government as a “decisive moment in the history of liberty,” where freedom gained “firm foothold” in the Middle East.

The Iraqi people “have proved that the desire for liberty in the heart of the Middle East is for real,” Bush said.  “They've shown diverse people can come together and work out their differences and find a way forward.  And they've demonstrated that democracy is the hope of the Middle East and the destiny of all mankind.”

A transcript of the president’s speech on the global war on terror is available on the White House Web site.

For additional information on U.S. policies, see Iraq Update.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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