Bush and Blair Telecasts to Iraqi People -- "Your Nation Will Soon Be Free"

Apr 10, 2003 05:15 PM EDT

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared on national Iraqi television to tell the people that their country and freedom will be in their grasp, April 10.

"The nightmare that Saddam Hussein has brought to your nation will soon be over," Bush told Iraqi viewers. "You deserve better than tyranny and corruption and torture chambers. You deserve to live as free people. And I assure every citizen of Iraq: Your nation will soon be free."

The taped comments were transmitted into Iraq through a new Arabic network developed by the U.S. and England. In their statements, the leaders of the two nations sought to assure Iraqis the coalition forces were in their country to remove Hussein's regime and to give control of the government to the people.

"Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors," Blair said. "They will not stay a day longer than is necessary.

"Our aim is to help alleviate immediate humanitarian suffering and to move as soon as possible to an interim authority run by Iraqis," Blair told viewers. "This will pave the way for a truly representative Iraqi government, which represents human rights and the rule of law and spends Iraq's wealth not on palaces and weapons of mass destruction, but on you and the services you need."

"[W]e will not stop until Saddam's corrupt gang is gone," Bush said.

"Coalition forces will help maintain law and order so that Iraqis can live in security," the president said. "We will respect your great religious traditions, whose principles of equality and compassion are essential to Iraq's future. We will help you build a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens. And then our military forces will leave. Iraq will go forward as a unified, independent and sovereign nation that has regained a respected place in the world."

The telecasts on the new network initially will be viewed in Baghdad and other parts of central Iraq before being expanded to the entire country. According to a British official, the current network will be used until a “proper, free and open” media is in place.

By Pauline J.