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Toward an Independent, Free, and Peaceful Iraq

June 2004

On June 28, 2004, full sovereignty was transferred to a new Iraqi interim government. The Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Ambassador Paul Bremer, ceased to exist. The Iraqi Government is now running the day-to-day operations of its country.

Deputy Secretary Armitage: "What matters is what people in Baghdad and Iraq at large think, and they seem to think it was a significant, indeed a momentous, day. Secondarily, the people in the region, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, etc., found it a momentous day. In fact, Kuwait reestablished relations with Iraq immediately, after 14 years." [more]

Iraq's Transition to Self-Government
Fact sheet on the transfer of sovereignty, the U.S. role, international support, national elections, and improvements in Iraqi quality of life.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi places his hand on the Quran as he is sworn in at the ceremony transferring sovereignty to Iraq in Baghdad Monday, June 28, as Iraqi President Ghazi Al-Yawer looks on. (©AP/WWP)Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is Sworn In
Sovereignty was transferred to Iraq at 10:26 a.m. Baghdad time on June 28. The early transfer was decided by Prime Minister Allawi and based on two driving factors: the readiness of the interim government and the effect on the security environment. Visit the new Embassy Web site.


Deputy Secretary Armitage: "I think it's quite clear now that those who are fighting against -- formally fighting against the coalition in Iraq are now fighting against an Iraq government and Iraqis themselves. And we're making a bet, the coalition members are making a bet that Iraqis will fight for Iraq, or they may be somewhat less inclined to fight for coalition forces." [full text]

Secretary Powell officiating at swearing in ceremony for John Negroponte, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq in the Franklin RoomAmbassador John D. Negroponte: "As I prepare to go to Iraq as United States Ambassador, I do so with a clear mission: to offer support and assistance to the Iraqi people and government as Iraq reasserts its full sovereignty. Three mutually reinforcing objectives underpin this goal: establishing security by helping the Iraqis defeat terrorists and criminal elements who oppose a free Iraq; promoting economic development; and supporting Iraq's democratization through elections, promotion of  human rights, and the rule of law." [audio clip] [full text and audio of Secretary Powell's and Ambassador Negroponte's remarks] 

President Bush speaks to service members and their families June 16, 2004, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara. President Bush: "We're moving forward with our five-point plan for Iraqi self-government. We're handing over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government. We're encouraging more international support for Iraq's political transition. We're helping Iraqis take responsibility for their own security. We're continuing to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, and we're helping Iraq move to free elections. A turning point will come two weeks from today. On June the 30th, governing authority will be transferred to a fully sovereign interim government, the Coalition Provisional Authority will cease to exist, an American embassy will open in Baghdad." [more]

Deputy U.S. Chief of Protocol Jeff Eubank hosts President Ghazi al-Yawer of Iraq's interim government during the arrival ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, June 8, 2004. The new president will participate in this week's G8 Summit. White House photo/Paul Morse. President Bush: "Yesterday, the United Nations sent a clear message that the world supports a free Iraq. And the United States supports a transfer of full sovereignty to you, Mr. President, and your government. And having visited with you, having talked to you, and having listened to you, I have got great faith in the future of your country, because you believe in the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people." [more; G-8 summit information]

Ambassador Negroponte: "The unanimous passage of Resolution 1546 is a vivid demonstration of broad international support for--and I quote from the text--'a federal, democratic, pluralist and unified Iraq, in which there is full respect for political and human rights.' ... [T]he international community now has a renewed opportunity to help the people of Iraq and their sovereign government." [more]

President Bush: "This interim government reflects new leadership drawn from a broad cross-section of Iraqis.... We're working with allied governments and with Iraq's new leaders on a new United Nations Security Council resolution that will express international support for Iraq's interim government, reaffirm the world's security commitment to the Iraqi people, and encourage other UN members to join in the effort of building a free Iraq." [more]

Secretary Powell with Her Excellency Salome Zourabichvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia speak to the press after their bilateral, Washington, DC, June 1, 2004. State Department photo by Michael Gross. Secretary Powell: "[B]y the 30th of June, this new government, the interim Iraqi government, will take office, empowered by a UN resolution and with the support of the international community, and they will have full sovereignty.... The government that was announced today is a caretaker government to take the country through the next six to seven months until elections can be held." [more]

Secretary Powell in roundtable interview with regional print journalists. Washington, DC, May 26, 2004. State Department photo. Secretary Meets with Media
Interviews on ABC, CBSNBC; roundtable with print journalists; briefing with foreign journalists.

President George W. Bush delivers speech on Iraq at U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, May 24, 2004. © AP photo/Shawn Thew. President Bush: "There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support, and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people." [more]

Secretary Powell: "We all came together in a great coalition to do this.... I know that in each of the countries represented here, difficult political choices were made to help this coalition, to serve in this coalition.... You have all backed your commitment to an independent, democratic Iraq with action.... We're doing the right thing by helping the Iraqi people, and we're doing it in the right way through partnerships." [more]

President George W. Bush answers reporters' questions following a Cabinet meeting at the White House, May 19, 2004. White House photo/Joyce Naltchayan. President Bush: "I detailed our plan and our strategy to transfer full sovereignty to the Iraqi people on June the 30th.... [W]e talked about the UN Security Council resolution ... which will embrace the new interim government, and the need to provide security so that free elections will happen as promised to the Iraqi people." [more]

Deputy Secretary Armitage: "The transition to sovereignty and democracy in Iraq is the pivotal opportunity and challenge for our nation at the moment.... In 44 days, the Department of State takes the lead in managing and representing U.S. interests to a sovereign Iraqi government.... [W]e will continue to define success as a democratic and prosperous Iraq, at peace within itself and with its neighbors." [more]

Travel to Jordan
Remarks from Secretary's trip to World Economic Forum meetings.

G-8 foreign ministers hold press conference in State Department's Dean Acheson Auditorium, Washington, DC, May 14, 2004. State Department photo/Michael Gross. Secretary Powell: "We also discussed the security situation in Iraq at considerable length and the June 30th transfer of authority -- transfer of authority from the CPA under Ambassador Bremer to a new interim Iraqi government All of us share a strong interest in Iraq's reconstruction and successful transition to democracy." [more]

Secretary's Interviews
Secretary Powell's remarks to BBC TV, Denmark's DR TV, Portugal's SIC TVUkraine's INTER TV, and Al Arabiya.

Under Secretary Grossman: "[W]e are carrying out a plan to get to June 30 and beyond based on guidance and direction set by the President and Secretary Powell ... we are focused on the need to get enough resources, the right people and the right organization so that we can do the job we have been assigned, and ... we are focused on achieving a successful transition to an Iraqi Interim Government, working closely with Iraqis, our Coalition partners, and the United Nations." [more]

Secretary Powell shakes hands with German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer after their bilateral at the State Department, C Street Entrance, Washington, DC, May 11, 2004. State Department photo/Michael Gross. Secretary Powell: "[I]t is still the United States' plan to move aggressively to return full sovereignty to the Iraqi people by the end of June, recognizing that there are some functions that they will still ask us to perform for them with respect to security and with respect to helping them with their reconstruction effort. But that plan remains very much on track and will require new UN resolutions." [more]

President George W. Bush addresses the press after meeting with his national security team at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, May 10, 2004. Pictured with the President are, from left, State Secretary Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers and Peter Pace. White House photo/Paul Morse. President Bush: "First, we will take every necessary measure to assure the safety of American and coalition personnel, and the security of Iraqi citizens.... Our second great commitment in Iraq is to transfer sovereignty to an Iraqi government as quickly as possible.... The Iraqi people need to know that our coalition is fully committed to their independence, and we're fully committed to their national dignity. This is a reason the June 30th transfer of sovereignty is vital.... Third, because America is committed to the equality and dignity of all people, there will be a full accounting for the cruel and disgraceful abuse of Iraqi detainees." [more]

President George W. Bush and His Majesty King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein of Jordan walk together after holding a joint press conference in the Rose Garden, May 6, 2004. White House photo/Paul Morse.President Bush: "[O]n June 30th, a sovereign Iraqi government will take office. Our coalition partners will continue to work with the United Nations to prepare for nationwide elections that will choose a new government in January of 2005.... We also talked about what has been on the TV screens recently.... I told [the King of Jordan] I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners, and the humiliation suffered by their families." [more]

U.S. and Iraqi judges during press conference in Scheveningen, Netherlands, May 5, 2004. AP photo/Toussaint Kluiters.Rule of Law Training
Twenty-eight Iraqi judges and Ministry of Justice officials are participating in a training program and workshop in The Hague, Netherlands. [more]

USAID Report: A Year in Iraq, May 2004"A Year in Iraq"
Report on the emergency relief and reconstruction aid delivered to Iraq during the 12 months after the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, which was the biggest U.S. foreign aid program since the Marshall Plan, delivering $3.3 billion in help to Iraq's people. The U.S. aid fixed schools, vaccinated millions of children, restored electricity, and created Iraq’s first democratic councils.

President Bush: "Our coalition is implementing a clear strategy in Iraq.... On June 30th, a sovereign Iraqi interim government will take office.... On July 1st, and beyond, our reconstruction and military commitment will continue." [more]

President George W. Bush meets with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson in the Oval Office April 28, 2004. White House photo/Paul Morse. President Bush: "[W]e will have a successful transfer of power. I assured the [Swedish] Prime Minister that the June 30th date is a solid date. And I appreciate so very much the work by the United Nations and Mr. Brahimi to lay the groundwork for the transfer of sovereignty." [more]

Ambassador-designate Negroponte: "I am pleased to appear before you today as the President’s nominee to be the first United States Ambassador to a liberated Iraq.... I know that members of this committee share my conviction that we must get Iraq right." [more]

Senior Coordinator Charlotte Ponticelli opens the first formal session of the U.S.-Iraqi Womens Network, April 26, 2004 at the State Department. State Department photo/Michael Gross.Women's Democracy-Training Projects
With Iraqi national elections expected in January 2005, the U.S.-Iraq Women's Network is seeking to encourage Iraqi women to participate in their country's political life and define their role in a democratic Iraq. [more]

Secretary Powell was interviewed by Alex Aillón of La Prensa Grafica in Washington, DC, April 23, 2004. State Department photo/Michael Gross. Secretary's Interviews
Remarks to La Prensa GraficaNetherlandsNorway, and South Korea media, and to ABC and Reuters.

Under Secretary's Testimony
Remarks on U.S. policy and military operations, transition to sovereignty, and obstacles and opportunities in the transition.

Reconstruction Core Group
The Core Group reiterated its commitment to Iraq's reconstruction and to the successful transition to a sovereign government on June 30. The Group underscored the continuing and urgent need for the timely provision of assistance by the international community. [more]

Announcing his intention to nominate him to be the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, President George W. Bush talks with John Negroponte, who currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, in the Oval Office on April 19, 2004. White House photo/Eric Draper.President Bush: "Today I'm announcing my intention to nominate Ambassador John Negroponte as the Ambassador to Iraq. Ambassador Negroponte now serves our nation at the United Nations as the Ambassador there. He has done a really good job of speaking for the United States to the world about our intentions to spread freedom and peace.... And there's no doubt in my mind that Iraq will be free and democratic and peaceful." [more]

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair walk along the colonnade before a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 16, 2004. White House photo/Paul Morse.President Bush: "Prime Minister [Blair] and I have made our choice: Iraq will be free; Iraq will be independent; Iraq will be a peaceful nation.... This week we've seen the outlines of a new Iraqi government that will take the keys of sovereignty. We welcome the proposals presented by the UN Special Envoy Brahimi." [more]

Secretary's Interviews
Remarks to Canadian, Italian, Japanese, and Polish television.

President George W. Bush at press conference in the East Room of the White House, April 13, 2004. White House photo/Paul Morse. President Bush: "One central commitment of that mission is the transfer of sovereignty back to the Iraqi people. We have set a deadline of June 30th.... America's objective in Iraq is limited, and it is firm: We seek an independent, free, and secure Iraq.... As we've made clear all along, our commitment to the success and security of Iraq will not end on June 30th. On July 1st, and beyond, our reconstruction assistance will continue, and our military commitment will continue. Having helped Iraqis establish a new government, coalition military forces will help Iraqis to protect their government from external aggression and internal subversion." [more]

President Bush and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice participate in video teleconference, Crawford, Texas, April 10, 2004. White House photo/Eric Draper.President Bush: "United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is conducting intensive consultations with a wide range of Iraqis on the structure of the interim government that will assume control on July the 1st.... The transition to sovereignty will mark the beginning of a new government, and the end of the coalition's administrative duties. But the coalition's commitment to Iraq will continue.... [O]ur coalition forces will remain committed to the security of Iraq." [more]

Secretary's Interviews
Remarks on ABC, CNN, Fox, and NBC.

Secretary Powell: "The people of Iraq ... want democracy. They want peace. They are so glad to be rid of this regime that filled mass graves, that murdered people, that had rape rooms and torture rooms.... [T]he Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council have made great strides in the area of security, in the area of economic stability and growth and democratization." [more]

Iraqi women practice their computer skills at the Fatima Al-Zahra Center for Womens Rights in Hilla, Iraq. October 2003. USAID photo/Thomas Hartwell.Secretary Powell: "As we remember Sayyed Abdul Majeed and the many other courageous Iraqis who have died for the causes he championed, let us rededicate ourselves to assisting the Iraqi people to build an Iraq that is democratic, independent, peaceful, and prosperous." [more]

Press Release: The Department of State welcomes six members of the Iraq National Symphony Orchestra back to the U.S. for training, master classes, meetings, and cultural activities. This return visit to the U.S. is part of an ongoing series of exchanges with Iraq that has resumed in recent months. [more]

President George W. Bush addresses a crowd gathered on the White House South Lawn to celebrate the induction of seven countries into NATO, March 29, 2004. White House photo/Susan Sterner. President Bush: "NATO's core mission remains the same: the defense of its members against any aggression.... The countries we welcome today were friends before they were allies, and they were allies in action before becoming allies by treaty. Today, all seven of these nations are helping to bring lasting freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq." [more]

Iraq One Year Later: Freedom and Progress
Fact sheet on the advances in many areas in the year since coalition forces began their campaign in Iraq--education, freedom and democracy, security, and infrastructure and quality of life.

Press Statement: As part of ongoing U.S. efforts against terrorism, the Secretary of State has designated the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Ansar al-Islam, which operates in Iraq, has close links to and support from al-Qaida. The group has been one of the leading groups engaged in anti-Coalition terrorist attacks in Iraq. [more]

President Bush: "One year ago this week, ground forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq.... Helping Iraq emerge as a free nation is a global responsibility, and the nations of the world are meeting their responsibilities.... Whatever it takes, we will fight and work to assure the success of freedom in Iraq." [more]

President George W. Bush speaks in the East Wing to mark the one-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom. March 19, 2004. White House photo/Susan Sterner.President Bush: "Today, as Iraqis join the free peoples of the world, we mark a turning point for the Middle East, and a crucial advance for human liberty.... [E]very nation now has an interest in a free, successful, stable Iraq." [more]

President George W. Bush sits down for lunch with soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, March 18, 2004. White House photo/Tina Hager.President Bush: "Today, Iraq has a new interim law that guarantees basic rights for all: freedom of religion, the right to cast a secret ballot, and equality under the law.... All over Iraq today, as that nation moves closer to self-government, Iraqis can be certain that in the United States of America, they have a faithful friend." [more]

USAID Accomplishments in Iraq: March 2003 to March 2004
Fact sheet on power production; water and sanitation; telephone communications; ports, bridges, and rails; airports; education; health; local governance; projects for women; community action programs; quick impact projects; economic governance; agriculture; the marshlands; humanitarian and emergency assistance; and youth and sports.

Deputy Secretary's Interviews
Remarks on WRAL, Al Jazeera, Australian BroadcastingWPHT, WTKF, and Talk News.

Iraqis search in makeshift morgue for relatives and friends among victims found in mass grave. Bodies are wrapped in linen shrouds. From 2004 USAID report. USAID photo/Thomas Hartwell.USAID Administrator Natsios: "Across Iraq, more than 270 mass graves have been reported.... Leaders of the new Iraq and the international community have now joined together to begin the long and painful process of accounting for the dead." [more]

Secretary Powell lights ceremonial candles at the dedication of the Halabja Museum, Iraq, September 15, 2003. State Department photo/Caitlin Hayden.Secretary Powell: "For 15 years we have stood witness on this day to the victims of Halabja, that their deaths not be forgotten. But this year is different. ... This year a new light shines on Iraq, a light of freedom, a light of hope, and a light of justice." [more]

Deputy Secretary Armitage addresses U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, Washington, DC, March 15, 2004. State Dept. photo/Michael Gross.Deputy Secretary Armitage: "As we approach the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, this seems an appropriate time to reflect on what we have accomplished there and what we can expect." [more]

Secretary's Interviews
Remarks on ABC, Fox, Tonight, and to National Journal and Tom Brokaw.

President George W. Bush greets Dr. Raja Habib Khuzai of the Iraqi Governing Council after delivering remarks on women's human rights in the East Room of the White House, March 12, 2004. White House photo by Paul Morse.President Bush: "Three women now serve on the Iraqi Governing Council.... Iraqi women are already using their new political powers to guard against extremism and intolerance in any form, whether it be religious or secular." [more

Democracy and Civil Society
Statement on Iraqi visitors' 10-day program.

Charlotte Ponticelli and Iraqi women at Foreign Press Center briefing, Wash. DC, March 11, 2004.Charlotte Ponticelli: "The Iraqis have achieved so much in such a short time.... On Monday, Secretary Powell, to support the progress in Iraq, particularly on behalf of women of Iraq, announced two new initiatives: first, he announced the $10 million Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative; and the second initiative is a U.S.-Iraq Women's Network." [more]

Secretary Powell addresses the  International Women's Day Reception, in Treaty Room.  State Department photo by Michael Gross.Secretary Powell: "Read this administrative law, and read what the Governing Council has written for the people of Iraq. ... Read what it says about the interim government that will be created in just a few months' time. Read what it says, and you will see what vision the Iraqi people have for themselves. And let there be no doubt in anyone's mind that it is a bright future." [more]

Photo of (from left to right) External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten; Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowen; Secretary Powell; and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana at the U.S.-EU Ministerial Joint Press Conference.  State Department photo/ Michael Gross. Secretary Powell: "We also discussed developments in Iraq. The handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi people will be an important milestone, and we welcomed the role the United Nations is playing in the transition process. The European Union and the United States are in full agreement on the importance of a sovereign, stable, and unified Iraq for the whole of the international community." [more]

Secretary Powell Meeting the First Iraqi Fulbright StudentsSecretary Powell: "...the real value of the Iraqi Fulbright Program will only be realized when each and every one of you returns home. Your country will not only need your professional skills, Iraq will need your activism to create a vibrant civil society, form an accountable representative system of government and establish independent media that will help your people represent and present their views to the government." [more]

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