President Bush telephoned French President Jacques Chirac to ask for his support for a new U.N. resolution on Iraq. The French leader says the U.S. and British proposal is a "good basis for discussion."
President Bush says he and President Chirac share the same goals for Iraq: freedom, stability, and peace.
With more than 130,000 U.S. troops set to stay in the country after the June handover of power, President Chirac says he wants to make sure that transfer of sovereignty is a real transfer. President Bush says it will be.
?We want there to be a complete and real transfer of sovereignty so that Iraqi citizens realize the fate of their country is now their responsibility,? Mr. Bush said. ?And we will be there to help.?
President Bush said that Washington will help by making sure U.S. troops are there to work with Iraqi security forces and by ensuring that U.S. reconstruction funds are well spent. He added that he will continue to work with other countries to help aid a free Iraq and will do what needs to be done to help a new interim government succeed.
Mr. Bush wants a new U.N. resolution to help legitimize a transitional government for Iraq ahead of elections for a national assembly next year. He will need French support to get that through the U.N. Security Council. France led U.N. opposition to last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said that the proposed resolution needs improvements. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the foreign minister added that Iraq's main political parties should be brought together to approve the choice of a new interim government before a vote on a new U.N. resolution.
French officials have also raised concerns about who will control Iraqi oil revenue after the transfer and how long a proposed multi-national security force will stay in the country.
The Bush administration says that force will remain under U.S. control. As part of the proposed resolution, that force would be empowered to do whatever is necessary to maintain security.
President Bush said that he has no doubt that Iraqi democracy will succeed and that success will help spread freedom throughout the Middle East. ?A free Iraq will show the rest of the world that when people are given a chance to raise their families in peace and security, a civil society that is stable and hopeful will develop,? he said.
President Bush will meet with President Chirac in Paris next month ahead of ceremonies to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which led to the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.
Mr. Bush will continue his push for international support for a new U.N. resolution on Iraq as host of the G8 summit of industrialized nations shortly after the D-Day commemoration. He will also take that message to a NATO summit in Turkey just days before the June 30 handover of power.