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Garrett: U.S. Hands Sovereignty to Interim Iraqi Government Ahead of Schedule

Location: Washington, DC

Garrett: U.S. Hands Sovereignty to Interim Iraqi Government Ahead of Schedule

June 28, 2004, Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) said that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq stepped down two days ahead of schedule to hand over its power to the Iraqi people. This day marks the first day of democracy in the nation's history. The CPA turned over authority to the Iraqi interim government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who will lead the reconstruction of the country until a national election is held in early 2005.

"This is a pivotal day in the lives of all Iraqis and a historic one for the free and sovereign country of Iraq," said Garrett. "It signals the beginning of a new era in Iraqi history, one in which its people will be at liberty to participate in the election of their own government."

The Iraqi people suffered for decades under the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein, who terrorized and tortured both his neighbors and his own people, which included the use of chemical weapons. Under Saddam's rule, ordinary Iraqis were trapped in poverty and denied basic services such as education, security, medical care, a fair justice system and electricity, while the nation's money was spent to build exorbitant palaces and reward Saddam's loyal followers.

Since the ousting and capture of Saddam Hussein by U.S. forces, civil rights and personal freedoms have been restored in Iraq, as well as equal rights to all, not just to Saddam's entourage of terrorists. Working together, the CPA and the Iraqis restored electricity, rebuilt schools and hospitals and created a recovering economy.
Iraq's security has increased as well. Not only is one of most powerful dictators in the world in custody, awaiting a trial by his own people, but the Iraqi people are in the process of creating their own terror-fighting force. Iraqi security forces are growing, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are on duty or in training to protect their country. Seventy percent of Iraqis express confidence in the New Iraqi Army and 82 percent express confidence in the Iraqi Police Service.

"The Iraqi interim government is capable and strong, and we are confident that the Iraqi government is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead," said Garrett. "United States and Coalition forces will remain in Iraq and will operate under American command as part of a multinational force authorized by the United Nations. However, the nation's sovereignty is now officially under Iraqi control. In fact, some ministries have been in Iraqi control for several weeks, allowing the government to become accustomed to self-rule."

Garrett concluded, "There is no question that the liberation of Iraq was a noble act. We are pleased and proud to welcome Prime Minster Allawi and the country of Iraq into the international community. We look forward to a friendly and prosperous relationship between our two nations."

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