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Blair Seeks to Reassure Iraqi People in Televised Message - 2003-04-10

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have recorded video messages for the Iraqi people, which are to be broadcast inside Iraq in the coming days.

Prime Minister Blair sought to assure the Iraqi people that, unlike the last Gulf War, this time the coalition will finish the job of removing Saddam Hussein and his regime.

"This regime will be gone. And then, we will work with you to build the peaceful, prosperous Iraq that you want, and you deserve," prime minister Blair said. "This Iraq will not be run by Britain, or by the U.S., or by the U.N. It will be run by you, the people of Iraq."

In his videotape, with Arabic subtitles, Mr. Blair said coalition forces will not stay in Iraq longer than necessary, and will hand over control to the Iraqi people as soon as possible.

He said the coalition wants to give Iraqis the chance to rebuild their country and provide a better future for their children. Mr. Blair said Iraqis deserve freedom and prosperity, and that they will be able to use their country's oil wealth, rather than having it squandered on weapons of mass destruction and luxurious palaces for Saddam Hussein.