Iraq interim PM tells US Congress: ''Thank you, America''
Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi declared Thursday that his country is succeeding in its effort to move past the war that ousted Saddam Hussein. Allawi told a joint meeting of Congress that despite struggles and setbacks, "the values of liberty and democracy" are taking hold in Iraq.
"Today, we are better off, you are better off, the world is better off without Saddam Hussein," Allawi said, according to The AP. He added: "Your decision to go into Iraq was not an easy one, but it was the right one."
"We Iraqis know that Americans have made, and continue to make, enormous sacrifices to liberate Iraq, to assure Iraq's freedom," he said. "I have come here to thank you, and to promise you that your sacrifices are not in vain.
"Thank you, America."
"The overwhelming majority of Iraqis are grateful," said Allawi.
"They are grateful to be rid of Saddam Hussein and the torture and brutality he forced upon us, grateful for the chance to build a better future for our families, our country and our region," he stated.
"We are fighting for freedom and democracy, ours and yours," Allawi said. "Every day, we strengthen the institutions that will protect our new democracy, and every day, we grow in strength and determination to defeat the terrorists and their barbarism."
Allawi said the struggle in Iraq "is not about the future of Iraq only.
"It's about the worldwide war between those who want to live in peace and freedom, and terrorists," he said.
"In Iraq we confront both, insurgency and the global war on terror with their destructive forces sometimes overlapping.
"These killers may be just a tiny fraction of our 27 million population, but with their guns and their suicide bombs to intimidate and to frighten all the people of Iraq, I can tell you today, they will not succeed," he said.
He added that elections would be held as scheduled in January. "I know that some have speculated even doubted whether this (January election) date can be met," Allawi said. "So let me be absolutely clear. Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January because Iraqis want elections on time." (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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