Updated: 05-Nov-2004 NATO Speeches


5 Nov. 2004


by Dr. Ayad Allawi, Prime Minister of Iraq
at the North Atlantic Council Meeting

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Audio file of the statements (MP3/1826kb)
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Deputy Secretary General,
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning.

You represent in this room a key alliance in the world today – bringing together the common values of:

  • the rule-of- law,
  • human rights,
  • and a democratic system of government.

The people in your countries cherish such values. Some are even lucky enough to take them for granted. But they are values for which the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Government are fighting every day.

We Iraqis want to see Iraq succeed:

  • To succeed as a politically-diverse society which embraces different views, different cultures and different beliefs
  • To succeed as a strong economic power, able to provide for our own people and to take back our rightful place at the centre of world trade
  • And to succeed as a peaceful state, at last relieved of the burdens of violence, war and terrorism.

But the situation, as you all know, is not easy in Iraq at the moment.

And there is no doubt that security is proving crucial to delivering on all our other ambitions.

This is why NATO, through its training mission in Iraq, has already proved to be an important source of support for Iraq.

I wanted to come here today to thank you for that support.
To thank your countries.
And to thank you for making such assistance possible.

On the 28th of June this year– the very same day as the transfer of sovereignty to my Government – NATO announced in Istanbul a training programme for Iraq. This was an enormously important demonstration of solidarity.

And one that we greatly appreciated.

But I also wanted come here to explain to you why it is that I feel so strongly that your support to Iraq’s security forces is crucial to Iraq’s success.

There are two reasons.

Firstly, NATO’s training programme will help us to hold national elections in January next year.

I am committed to those elections going ahead, on time. They will bring an elected Government to power.

This time no-one’s going to get 100% of the votes!

Elections truly have the power to turn the tide for Iraq and to strike a huge blow to the insurgents and terrorists.

Elections can prove to those determined to disrupt Iraq’s progress that the vast majority of Iraqis are all the more determined to push ahead and to succeed in the face of such violence.

Your program to help train and equip Iraq’s security forces will help us to create stable conditions for those elections. Conditions that will allow Iraqis to vote without fear.

Secondly, your assistance will help Iraqi Security forces to take on greater responsibilities.

I am extremely grateful to the Multi-National Forces in Iraq. On behalf of the Iraqi people, I cannot thank them enough for liberating us from one of the most tyrannical, immoral and dangerous regimes that the world has known. I am grateful to each and every country that has sent their sons and daughters to Iraq to help my people.

I thank them for their vision and their courage in staying with us through the troubles and for their determination to see us succeed. Their support has been brave and generous. It will help us in our quest to build security – ours and yours.

But the Iraqi people are keen now to move as quickly as possible to the point where our own security forces can do this job on their own. We are not there yet, but we want to arrive as quickly as we can.

The more help NATO can give us, the quicker the Iraqi Security Forces will develop.

I want Iraq’s security forces to learn from the professionalism that NATO’s forces are known for.

I want them to learn and to apply standards of human rights that our region, sadly, is not known for.
And I want NATO’s help in creating the Command and Control structures that place the security forces where they should be: firmly under the control of a democratically-accountable civilian government.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Both of these factors – early elections and faster development of Iraq’s security forces – are key to the creation of a stable and democratic Iraq.

We cannot afford to fail on either count.

And by “we”, I do not mean Iraqis alone. The nature of the terrorist threat is international. None of us in this room can afford for violence to defeat democracy in Iraq.

I am already incredibly proud of the Iraqi forces.
They are brave and defiant in the face of the attacks against them.
They have performed well in key cities like in Najaf and Samarra.
They are growing in confidence in their core tasks :

  • policing the streets,
  • and defending Iraq’s infrastructure and her borders.

They are growing in experience and stature, as well as in number.
But they need your support.

NATO trainers have already begun to make a difference on the ground.

They have established an excellent relationship with my Government, and have started useful training in the field of Command-and-Control.

This training will benefit not only the commanders but also those under their command. It will help the country to develop a strong, and enduring security establishment.

And NATO’s extensive experience of building institutions makes it uniquely qualified to provide this help.

I also warmly welcome the establishment of the “NATO Training and Equipment Co-ordination Group”. I hope that this structure will make it easier for NATO partners to donate the equipment our forces need.

But Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassadors,
I must stress to you today:
Time is of the essence.

There is a real battle in Iraq today.

Delays measured even in hours and days can cost lives.

I therefore want to leave you with this final point:

Please use the solidarity that you expressed in Istanbul to

  • move forward your plans as quickly as possible;
  • establish further NATO training opportunities – both inside and outside Iraq;
  • help us with our equipment needs;
  • and to support those NATO officials already there in Iraq.

Together we can ensure that Iraqis succeed in their quest:

  • to become a modern, responsible and peaceful country.
  • to lead our troubled region down the path of democracy and human rights.
  • and to help create the security on NATO’s Southern flank that is in all of our interests.

Every effort and every contribution will contribute to this goal.

Every piece of support, and every pledge of help can and will make a difference.

By contributing to building a secure Iraq, NATO has outlined an incredibly important role for its member states to play.

One which is right for the Alliance.
One which is greatly welcomed and hugely needed.

Iraq looks forward to cementing our own alliance with NATO, and to contributing to your security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Once again,
Thank you for your support.

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