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Bush Calls For Lifting of UN Sanctions Against Iraq - 2003-04-16

President Bush says U.N. sanctions against Iraq should be lifted now that Saddam Hussein has been driven from power. With Iraq's government deposed, President Bush says it is time to end economic sanctions instated following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

That would allow businesses to buy Iraqi oil and sell goods in Iraq without the restrictions of the U.N. oil-for-food program, which allowed only limited oil sales to fund the purchase of food and medicine for Iraqi civilians.

Speaking at a factory that makes U.S. fighter jets in the Midwest city of St. Louis, Mr. Bush said coalition forces are following up the fall of Saddam Hussein with deliveries of food and medicine, as well as direct payments to Iraqi doctors and nurses providing what he calls "desperately needed care" for Iraqi civilians.

"Of all the hardships of this transition, the lives of the Iraqi people will be better than anything they have known for generations," said Mr. Bush.

The president says U.S. officials are already helping Iraqi opposition leaders form an interim authority to organize new elections.

"The journey from a totalitarian brutal dictatorship to a free society is not easy," he said. "It will take time to build the institutions of democracy and the habits of freedom. Today civil order is being restored in communities throughout Iraq and Iraqis themselves are helping in the efforts."

Mr. Bush says Iraqi civilians are reclaiming their own future just days after the government's collapse by participating in joint patrols and leading U.S. troops to hidden arms caches.

While the regime of Saddam Hussein has passed into history, Mr. Bush says the difficulties facing coalition troops in Iraq remain.

"American and coalition forces still face serious risks in Iraq. A scattered enemy is still capable of doing harm to our forces and to the innocent," he said. "But we will stay focused. We will finish what we begun. We will press on until our mission is finished and victory is complete."

Mr. Bush Wednesday signed a nearly $80 billion spending bill covering the initial costs of the war in Iraq and more money for security against a terrorist attack in the United States.

He then traveled to his Texas ranch where he will spend the Easter weekend.