NURI AL-MALIKI, PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ (through translator): The most compassionate secretary-general and president of the 62nd session, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I’m honored to address you as the first prime minister of a constitutionally permanent government representing Iraq, its people, and its administrations, in cementing the foundations of democracy, peace, freedom and cooperation with the international community.
I come to you carrying the burdens of the people of the Valley of the Two Rivers, who built the most ancient civilizations, established the first laws, and who today offer humanity a high example in sustaining life, facing challenges, and persistence in protecting our young democratic experience.
The Iraqi people have received isolation from the world in the shadow of dictatorship for 35 years. There was no freedom of thought or belief. There was no multiparty system, no free elections, no democratic institutions, no communication systems, and no media except those that were controlled by the intelligence agencies, of the government.
During this millions of victims in Iraq suffered throughout this era in ventures, wars with two neighboring countries, Iran and Kuwait. Genocide and mass murders were committed inside Iraq, such as what happened during the an Al Anfar campaign in Halabja. And in addition were the mass grave, horrific prison cells, the detention camps as well as the immense destruction that claimed the infrastructures of the different governmental institutions.
Today, Iraq — the new Iraq, there are hundreds of parties that are active within 20 political alliances. There are more than 6,000 civil organizations, hundreds of newspapers and magazines, 40 local and satellite TV stations, as well as the offices of the foreign media, correspondents from all over the world, that work without conditions, without restrictions.
The new Iraq, ladies and gentlemen, is what is targeted today, terrorism kills civilians, terrorism kills journalists, kills actors, thinkers, and professionals. It attacks the universities, attacks the marketplaces and the libraries. It blows up mosques and churches and destroys the infrastructure of the state institutions there.
We consider this terrorism as an extension of the foreign dictatorship, whether it may vary in its outside form, or by the guns that carry it out. This terrorism is aiming at aborting the political process and igniting sectarian dissension as a prelude to hijack Iraq back into the era of tyranny, oppression, and backwardness. Car bombs and explosive vests in public places under the display of the decapitated heads, on TV are all messages of threats that terrorists send to the world community.
The bloody chapters of which were executed in Algeria, in Spain, in England, in Lebanon, Turkey, and here in New York. We are steadfastly determined to exterminate and defeat terrorism in Iraq, so that it does not spread around the countries of the world and repeat the tragedy. Iraq that carries the greater burden in confronting terrorism, calls upon the nations of the world to help and unite its efforts toward fighting this plight of terrorism.
Our battle aims at providing security, stability, and prosperity, as well as protecting our democratic experience. We are determined to be victorious in this battle, which will be, indeed, a victory for humanity. This fierce terrorists attack against Iraq since the fall of the dictatorship regime has not stopped our people through three epic elections from laying the groundwork for a unique, democratic experience in Iraq’s history, and individual’s history, where the constitution was — the permanent constitution was voted upon. A prime minister was elected, and the national unity government was established.
The new Iraq that lives a younger, democratic experience is governed by constitution, institutions, where freedom of opinion, belief, and expression are all respected. This Iraq will not retreat from its democratic choice option, for which our people have paid a very high price. It’s a position — a position that necessitates the support of cooperation from the world’s nations, so that Iraq build a modern state that guarantees justice, equality, and a respect for religious, sectarian or ethnic pluralism.
Our people how have enjoyed the taste of freedom after years of tyranny and oppression, will continue the road towards building a state of institutions, reinforcing the authority of the law, respecting human rights, and active participation in all areas and disciplines.
The national reconciliation, and our initiatives, that we have lawed upon assuming our responsibility as the prime minister of national unity government did not come from a void. Its strength emanated from the Iraqi people’s civilization and heritage that have made great contributions to mankind. Iraqis have lived in peace, brotherhood and forgiveness and tolerance since the dawn of history. They have religious, sectarian and ethnic diversities where elements of strength reinforcing national unity. We look at the national reconciliation as a life boat, a perpetual project of peace, and a safe harbor for the political process and the democratic experience.
We also believe that the national reconciliation is not the responsibility of the government alone. It is, indeed, the collective responsibility of the whole group held by the political powers, intellectual leaders, religious leaders, the educated, civil organizations, and all the active powers in the arena.
National reconciliation is our strategy, our choice, and option. That has saved our country from slipping into the pit of a sectarian war, a war that was planned by the enemies of freedom and democracy after blowing up the Tomb of the Sky Imams in Samarra.
Ladies and gentlemen, national reconciliation is not a dinner party or a dinner banquet prepared for this — between the disputed, or even a stick of medicine as some might think. It’s a realistic vision that remedies release the heavy remnants that were left behind by the fallen regime in all areas and disciplines. It lays the foundation for political, social, economic progress and the security that we strive for.
Furthermore, it cements the principles of the new political system. National reconciliation is the olive branch that blossomed in the formation of support, counts in many of our provinces and Iraqi cities. It was also successful in amalgamating about 28,000 cities and for our Iraqis tribes without military efforts to combat terrorism. It resulted in regaining and re-establishing security in our cities and villages. Among them, the Al Anbar Province that was liberated from the Al Qaeda terrorist organizations. The terrorists fled from it to face a defeat, this time in the Anbar Province. Thus, Al Qaeda is losing its safe havens, one after another.
National reconciliation is indeed stronger than the weapons of terrorism. It has succeeded in encompassing more than 14,000 people that were members of the armed groups that splintered from Al Qaeda; those fighters that stood next to our armed forces, and the multinational forces, battling Al Qaeda delivering the devastating blows to the terrorists’ organization.
National reconciliation transcends the hatreds and fears of the past. The national unity government, what has been realistically accomplished through the continuous mobilization of the national reconciliation is considered to be an important success in contrast to the great tyrannies that face Iraq and comparison to the experience of people who have suffered from dictatorships, even sectarian. To have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to you the acts of sectarian violence in Iraq are not among society’s components, but rather amongst extremists and fanatics from this group, or that.
We have been successful in containing this problem to a large degree. The average number of sectarian killings have decreased. Security and stability have been restored in many of the hot spots. This has helped the return of thousands of displaced families to their homes. We are determined to fight any and all outlaws irrespective of their sectarian or political affiliations.
Our armed forces have been adamant at establishing law and order as well as in sustaining a sense of respect for the government in many provinces, which have diverse religious, sectarian or ethnic affiliations. Our security and military agencies have experienced an accelerated growth in their skills and capabilities while confronting terrorist organizations, militias, criminal guns, and organized crime.
They have also — they — they need more development in order to be quickly able to take over the security responsibility in Iraq’s entirety from the multinational forces, having established their ability to handle security in eight of the provinces. We are ready to assume full responsibilities for security in order to defend the democratic gains of our people. And we shall work making that performance of our armed forces will be professional, and that their loyalty will be to the country, and not to their party, not to a sect, or not to an ethnicity.
In addition to these achievements, the national unity government has begun the process of reconstruction. We have voted on the largest budget in Iraq’s contemporary history, to the amount we — the cooperation of the parliament, the investment law has been adopted and approved. This is considered the progressive step to uplift and boost the Iraqi economy, moving from a central-based economy to a market- free enterprise economy, that will assist in meeting the needs of our people for development, prosperity and affluence.
The government has also completed a proposed law for oil and gas, which if approved by the parliament, this law will become oil guarantee the fair distribution of wealth, since oil is considered the property of all Iraqis. The government continues to complete the implementation of other proposed laws in different areas. We have taken practical steps to improve our people’s quality of life. Increased — increased employee retirements and retired salaries, combat unemployment and expand the activities of net of social welfare.
The government is determined that the upcoming year, and the next year to come, will be earmarked to promote the services sector of Iraq to alleviate the hardships and suffering of the citizens. We understand that this promising steps do not meet our entire aspirations and ambitions, and that we have a long way to achieve our goals for a secure, stable, and prosperous Iraq. It is our hope that the international community will support Iraq and help it achieve these noble goals.
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, we believe that security is a progressively integrated system, a secure and a stable Iraq will be in the best interests of the region and the world. We have cautioned all the countries in the region that the continued flow and overflow of weapons, money, suicide bombers, and the spreading of fatwahs inciting hatred and murder will only result in disastrous consequences for the peoples of the region and the world.
Since the formation of the national unity government, we took the initiatives to improve Iraq’s relationship with neighboring countries. We are careful also to turn our common borders into peaceful and economically prosperous areas and zones. The foreign policy of the new Iraq relies on the permanent constitution, which does not allow Islam to be used against its neighbors. It also refuses any interference in its internal affairs.
Today we feel optimistic that the countries of the region now realize the danger of the terrorists’ onslaught against Iraq. And that it’s not in their interests for Iraq to be weak. A strong, democratic Iraq will be a guarantee for security and stability in the region, because of its new policies, Iraq has become a meeting point for dialogue among feuding regional and international entities. We will march forward to reinforce this positive role adopting a policy that is based upon clearing the air, defusing crises, incurring the cost of war and conflict in the region.
We believe that a state of tension and instability will, no doubt, overshadow and affect the security conditions, not only in Iraq but in the — in the more general — in the region in general and the world. Iraq, which was for the past decades being a center of tension in the region is today qualified, and because of its material and human resources, to become a platform for regional and international economic cooperation that will contribute in establishing an economic system, which will realize development and prosperity for the people and countries of the region.
We also have affirmed our sincere desire to establish the best relationship with the international community. We feel that Iraq needs to open up to all countries developing relationships and benefiting from the experiences of other democracies.
I find it necessary, as I stand today in front of leaders and representatives of the world nations, to demand that the Iraqi people are still paying the price of the reckless politics of the past foreign regime, as well as the consequences of international resolutions, especially those that relate to its weapons program and the invasion of the sister-state of Kuwait. These resolutions which were exploited by the previous regime for political gains has inflicted great harm on the infrastructure, the service sector, education and health system.
Our people look up to the international community to help us, to alleviate and lift the burdens of the destruction, as well as relieve the people from the heavy bills of debt and compensations. The Iraqi people will remember the country that made sacrifices and stood next to them in bringing down the dictatorship regime. They will remember those who helped them during the transition to offer them a democratic, pluralistic federal system. They will always respect and appreciate the countries that support the political process and participate in the process of reconstruction.
Our striving to achieve economic progress and social justice in partnership with the international community was crowned with success upon the signing of the international compact document, and the implementation of its provisions. The document that represents a new stage in the development of balanced relationships between Iraq and the world governments. It’s a point of departure towards building a democratic pluralistic federal Iraq whereby all of its citizens are equal, benefiting from a fair distribution of wealth. After overcoming the burden of the debts, of poverty, unemployment and administrative and financial corruption that has spread.
I’ve read this transcript several times, and am still trying to process all that he has said. I did highlight a few sections for emphasis, without just highlighting the entire speech.
Few of us can imagine the challenges PM Maliki faces when he gets up each day, or that he carries to bed. His speech was certainly more interesting and newsworthy than that of the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadamnazi, yet the little monster from Tehran was the media darling for several days. I won’t try and disguise my belief that the dinosaur media has a liberal bias, and wishes to promote Bush-Bashing to it’s highest order of magnitude, so their liberal friends can gain political advantage, irrespective of the media representatives claims that they are unbiased. Al Maliki’s speech is just another example of the success of the invasion of Iraq, which was primarily to remove Saddam as a regional and international threat, and the positive gains that are being made in the birth of a nation.
I no longer pretend to view the news from the old-stream media with objectivity or optimism, instead I prefer the occasional surprise story they publish that gets it right. There are so many wonderful stories of achievement and sacrifice coming from Iraq, mostly from independent journalist, that I couldn’t begin to list them all, but will add a few links at the end.
I am most appreciative of the new media, and the many bright and inquisitive bloggers in the ether world, as they continue to inform in a way that the old-stream media cannot, and will not do.
To Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, I wish you every success in the massive undertaking you are presented with. I believe you grasp the importance of your job, and the many challenges and opportunities they present. I also thank you for recognizing the sacrifices your strongest ally has made, and that you honor this nation, and it’s wonderful military, that has made possible the day you stood before the world, as the representative of a free and democratic nation.