Iraq will ask multinational forces to leave some areas once it can secure them – Prime Minister

17 September 2005 –

As Iraq’s own forces gain the capacity to provide security in certain cities, the Government will ask the multinational forces to leave them, the country’s Prime Minister told the United Nations General Assembly today.

“The Iraqi forces continue building and training to take over all security matters and not depend on the multinational forces for its security,” said Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari. “However, the time has not come for it to be completely independent, even though some Iraqi cities have prepared to do so. Therefore, we will be asking the multinational forces to leave these cities once we are ready.”

He hailed the progress achieved to date. After having been freed from the 35-year dictatorship, “our people can rightly be proud today of having, in record time, in spite of all the obstacles and challenges facing Iraq, had a recently successful political journey, starting with the election in January,” he said.

A referendum on the constitution would be held next month, paving the way for the rule of law to prevail so that all men and women will enjoy equal rights. “We are marching resolutely towards political stability and economic prosperity,” he said.

Terrorist acts and assassinations in Iraq were declining, and economic activity was on the increase, he said, urging creditor nations to cancel Iraq’s debt. “I call on the nations to fulfill the promises they made during the International Conferences held in Madrid, Brussels, and finally in Jordan to provide financial aid to Iraq.”

He paid tribute to the “constructive role” played by the UN and its “tireless efforts” to help the Iraqi people. “We look forward to having the United Nations return to Iraq and re-open its offices to back up the reconstruction process,” he said.

He also called for the international community to adopt a programme to preserve Iraq’s rich archeological heritage.

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