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Bush Vows 'Full Sovereignty' for Iraq - 2004-06-09

President Bush meets with Iraq's new interim president later Wednesday on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the southern state of Georgia. It is President Bush's first meeting with the man who will lead Iraq's transitional government toward elections expected next year.

Mr. Bush says he will tell interim Iraqi president Ghazi al-Yawer that the United States is pulling for him.

"I'm going to thank him for having the courage to stand up and lead and tell him that America will help him," the president said. "I'm also going to tell him that when we say transfer full sovereignty, we mean transfer full sovereignty."

Some members of the U.N. Security Council had expressed concerns about how much sovereignty that interim government will have with more than 130,000 U.S. troops staying in Iraq after the June 30 handover of power.

But the U.S. and British-backed resolution passed unanimously Tuesday after revisions to give the interim government more oversight over military operations.

President Bush hopes that transitional authority can help curb the violence that has plagued the U.S. occupation by gaining broader public support for an administration with more authority than the governing council that followed the U.S. invasion.

In a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Bush said those opposed to a new government in Iraq will not succeed.

"Freedom will eventually prevail and they are not going to drive us out of Iraq because of their random killing. We will not be intimidated by their murderous ways," he said.

Prime Minister Blair said part of the process now is getting Iraqis to take more responsibility for their own security.

"The key next step in this is going to be for the new Iraqi government to sit down with the multinational force and work out how, over time how the Iraqi capability for security can be established and built up," he said.

President Bush says he would like to see a wider role for NATO in Iraq. Fifteen NATO members already have troops in the country and the president says there is a good chance of expanding that role, which may include training a new Iraqi army.