Madame President of the Security Council, Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations, distinguished members of the council: First, I should like to express my deep gratitude for inviting us to participate in this historic meeting. Special thanks go to the secretary-general, Mr. Kofi Annan, and his special representative for Iraq, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, and their assistants, for the efforts they have been making regarding the situation in Iraq and its future.
We shall take into our consideration the valuable remarks and the constructive proposals put forward by all of them to us.
It is indeed a great pleasure and honor to me and to my two colleagues, Dr. Akila Hashimi and Mr. Ahmed Chalabi, to speak to you in the name of Iraq, on behalf of the interim Governing Council, which is an honor for us to be members of.
Our homeland has rid itself of the oppressive tyrant regime that oppressed our people for three decades. That tyrant system of government that usurped us of our freedoms and degraded our dignity and exercised worst forms of oppression, as demonstrated by mass graves now being discovered all across the country. The people of Iraq, despite its continuing suffering and its sense of frustration and oppression because of the current security and living conditions, which have not improved as expeditiously as we had hoped for, has now, at long last, tasted a sense of freedom, a freedom that has been denied to them for so many decades.
The Iraqi population will never return to a society of fear and injustice. Now an Iraqi citizen could express his views, and air and articulate his aspirations in full freedom. The state of intelligence services and mandatory arrests and random executions all are gone, once and for all.
Our participation in this meeting is considered by the Iraqi people as a clear and express recognition of the sovereignty of Iraq, which you stressed in the second preambular paragraph of 1483.
The Governing Council has been formed as an embodiment of the national free will, to preserve the sovereignty of Iraq and to safeguard its unity and territorial integrity, and to achieve a better future for the people of Iraq and to reconstruct the fabric of society after all values and social links have been disintegrated and the national unity was undermined in that dark era.
The Governing Council, which represents the full spectrum of the Iraqi society, members of whom have been chosen as a result of painstaking and enormous consultations made by Iraqi personalities belonging to various religious, ethnic and political affiliations -- in conducting these intense negotiations that preceded the formation of the council, we were helped by representatives of the Coalition Provisional Authority, CPA, and the special representative of the secretary-general, under Operative Paragraph 9 of 1483. To all of them, we set on record our deep thanks. I avail myself of this opportunity to express our full thanks and deep appreciation to all of them for all the efforts that they have made.
Resolution 1483 did not set out in a clear and precise manner the functions of the interim administration. This flexibility in the scope of the resolution allowed a latitude for expansion of the powers of the Governing Council in order to cover all aspects of government, and we have found full response to all our proposals in this regard.
Our primary goal, which we shall always bear in our minds, is to shorten the duration of the interim administration period so that we would be able to constitute an elected government under a constitution to be endorsed by the population in a free election. The elections should be open for all people, and they should express freely their opinions.
The draft constitution will be examined by a constitutional congress that represents all political, social and religious groups. The Governing Council should prepare for that conference by establishing the best way for the participation of representatives and legislative action and other necessary measures to be about it in order to facilitate its operations like the elections law, a population census, register of electorate, organization of political parties and of all matters that relate to freedom of expression and government. The United Nations, given its experience and skills, could help us in drawing up all these legislations and laws.
The constitution for which the Iraqi people look forward is a democratic, multi-pluralistic and federal system that would preserve the basic rights of human beings, and consolidates the rule of law in an independent judiciary system, and ensures the peaceful transition of power through free elections, and subjects the armed forces to the elected civilian -- elected administration and gives women full rights on basis of equality. In brief, we look forward for the creation of a civil society that consolidates personal freedom as a premise for governments and rejects totalitarian systems that brought only misery and destruction to our people.
With regard to pressing issues which will be addressed by the interim Governing Council, I shall cite a few of them, but this list is not exhaustive.
First, appointment of ministers and filling vacancies in the government agencies and ministries, and appointment of competent personnel who were not implicated in crimes committed by the previous regime.
Two, reopening of Iraqi embassies abroad in order to perform their normal functions. And the reception of representatives of foreign governments, and appointment of Iraqi representatives to international organizations, foremost to the United Nations organization. And then Iraq will improve relations with neighboring Arab countries and other neighbors, and the international community at large.
And Iraq will be in need of enormous assistance in all spheres in order to rebuild its economy and to modernize its industries, and to reform its educational system and sanitation services, and the provision of basic needs to all citizens. I have no doubt in my mind that the United Nations and its specialized agencies will have an important and vital role to play in all these areas. One of the foremost functions of the Governing Council is to ensure security and stability, and to establish capable institutions to rebuild national police force and the national army, and to enable them to preserve the stability and security in Iraq, and that the police force and the army should be used in order to eliminate the destructive elements and the saboteurs that continue to impede the national evolutionary process and to undermine the interests of civilian population.
Four, reconsideration of laws enacted by the previous regime that enabled that regime to tighten its control over the country, and to reform the judiciary system, which was totally destroyed by the previous regime.
Five, constitution of special tribunals in order to bring the former criminals from the Iraqi regime to stand trial for their crimes against the Iraqi people and humanitarian crimes.
These tribunals will prosecute these accused criminals, and we have asked a special group of members of the council in order to present proposals regarding the formation of these special tribunals.
With regard to Iraq national economy, we have to revive that economy and to allow projects that would provide jobs for the unemployed and to alleviate the poverty of a large segment of society -- great number of them are still living below the poverty line -- and to establish justice and fairness in the distribution of national wealth. And the political freedom must be -- political freedom actually is consolidated inasmuch as the economic situation improves. We shall work to ensure that every individual would benefit from the enormous national assets of Iraq by creating a special fund. And we shall ensure compensation for victims of forced displacement and the confiscation of individual property confiscated by the bloodthirsty Saddam regime.
The Governing Council took several decisions in order to start implementing this ambitious program. With regard to security, the council has decided to employ at least 30,000 Iraqi policemen and to provide training and equipment for them and to pay them decently. And the council has decided to establish at least 1,500 schools and clinics as expeditiously as possible throughout Iraq. Still, in the context of economy, all salaries and back-payments will be paid, and we shall start a program in order to reabsorb over 200,000 demobilized soldiers in the civil society employment section, especially in the public works and construction sector. And the Governing Council will examine the budget in order to satisfy the needs of the population and to reform the currency system and to issue a new currency that would have a purchasing power available to all citizens.
The contribution by the United Nations and its specialized agencies in this endeavor will be of extreme importance to us.
The challenge that is facing us is enormous indeed. And the responsibilities of the Governing Council are too many, difficult and diverse. One cannot underestimate the great responsibility borne by members of this council. We shall be in need of full support by the Iraqi people, and we have to demonstrate to the people of Iraq our credibility, our merit in leading them in this historic process.
Personally, I am optimistic, because the Iraqis have demonstrated their ability to live in a -- to coexist in harmony and in tolerance. And we shall make every possible human effort to overcome the difficulties that we face, and we shall count on your support in order to restore Iraq to its natural position in the international community ranks.
And I thank you, Madame President.