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Iraq's New Governing Council Speaks To Iraqis


Iraq's New Governing Council Speaks To Iraqis

Says focus will be on security, the economy and elections

The Iraqi interim Governing Council concluded its first meeting July 13 and issued a statement later in the day announcing its purpose, and declaring the council as "representative of the makeup of the Iraqi people."

The statement was read live on Iraqi television by Shi'ite council and clergy member Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, and called for the rebuilding of an Iraq "whose people enjoy full rights under a unified democratic federal system."

"Looking at the challenges of today, we believe that the most important priority of the council is to direct all of its efforts towards achieving security and stability in the country, revitalizing the national economy and providing public services," he said.

The Governing Council's first act was to cancel all holidays associated with Iraq's former dictatorial regime and its Ba'th political party.

Following is the English-language translation of the final statement of Iraq's Governing Council, delivered at the conclusion of its first meeting in Baghdad, July 13, 2003. The Coalition Provisional Authority provided the translation in a July 14 press release.

Text of statement issued by Iraqi interim Governing Council after its first meeting, in Baghdad on 13 July, read by Governing Council member Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum:

Peace be upon you, dear brothers and sisters. May God's peace and blessings be upon you. In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. We are honored at these sensitive and complicated circumstances in the history of our country to announce to our homeland and the entire world the establishment of the transitional Governing Council, as an embodiment of the free national will of all Iraqis and in implementation of UN Security Council Resolution No 1483 to expedite the accomplishment of the tasks of the interim stage.

At this historic moment, we are eager to announce that the establishment of this council was the result of strenuous efforts exerted by Iraqi forces and figures of various affiliations and political trends, which have not stopped their consultations to reach the best possible formula so that this establishment might represent the components of the Iraqi people. This is done in consultation with the Coalition Provisional Authority and the representative of the UN Secretary-General. The council is representative of the makeup of the Iraqi people.

The establishment of this council is an expression of the national Iraqi will in the wake of the collapse of the former oppressive and dictatorial regime, thanks to the struggle and brave sacrifices of our people and the intervention of the international coalition forces. However, the building of new Iraq shall remain among the first priorities of the good Iraqi people. It will require the participation of all Iraqis from all political and social trends who are willing to help accomplish this historic task.

Looking at the challenges of today, we believe that the most important priority of the council is to direct all of its efforts towards achieving security and stability in the country, revitalizing the national economy and providing public services. All this will be done through the establishment of a government with full functions and through the encouragement of the institutions of civil society.

Efforts must be exerted to complete the drafting of a permanent constitution that represents the will of the Iraqi people and paves the way for holding general elections and forming an effective government that enjoys full powers in a manner that restores sovereignty and independence to Iraq.

The tasks entrusted to the newly formed council are large and the responsibilities of its members cannot be underestimated. The old regime has wrought a comprehensive destruction of all the institutions of the state of Iraq and undermined all political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of Iraqi life. Rebuilding Iraq will require the greatest degree of cooperation and cohesion among members of the united people. We must give precedence to national interests over any considerations in order to rebuild a new Iraq whose people enjoy full rights under a unified democratic federal system. Peace be upon you.

Brothers and sisters, I read to you the first resolution issued by the Governing Council in its opening session this morning:

Cancelling all official holidays associated with the deposed dictatorial regime and the dissolved [Arab Socialist] Ba'th Party.

9 April, the day the regime fell, shall become a national day for Iraq and an official holiday.


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