ADDRESS GIVEN BY THE PRIME MINISTER, TONY BLAIR, TO TOWARDS FREEDOM TV, IRAQ, THURSDAY 10 APRIL 2003
MESSAGE TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER, TONY BLAIR
I am glad to be able to speak to you today, and to tell you that Saddam Hussein?s regime is collapsing; that the years of brutality, oppression and fear are coming to an end; that a new and better future beckons for the people of Iraq.
We did not want this war. But in refusing to give up his Weapons of Mass Destruction, Saddam gave us no choice but to act. Now the war has begun, it will be seen through to the end. We will continue to do all we can to avoid civilian casualties. Our enemy is Saddam and his regime; not the Iraqi people. Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors. They will not stay a day longer than is necessary.
I know that some of you feared a repeat of 1991, when you thought Saddam?s rule was being ended, but he stayed, and you suffered. That will not happen this time. This regime will be gone. And then, we will work with you to build the peaceful, prosperous Iraq that you want, and you deserve. This Iraq will not be run by Britain, or by the US, or by the UN. It will be run by you, the people of Iraq.
Our aim is to help alleviate immediate humanitarian suffering, and to move as soon as possible to an interim authority run by Iraqis. This will pave the way for a truly representative Iraqi Government, which represents human rights and the rule of law and spends Iraq?s wealth not on palaces and WMD, but on you and the services you need. Saddam Hussein and his regime plundered your nation?s wealth. While many of you live in poverty, they have lived lives of luxury. He became one of the richest men in the world; his money stolen from you, the Iraqi people.
The money from Iraqi oil will be yours; to be used to build prosperity for you and your families.
I know too from my meetings with Iraqi exiles who live in Britain that you are an inventive, creative people. You should be free to travel, free to have access to independent media, free to express your views, free to develop your culture.
My experience of people the world over is that we all want to be able to live our lives in peace and security; we all want to give our families the chance of a decent life. For years, that chance has been denied to you. Millions of your countrymen and women have been forced to leave. Many thousands have been murdered, tortured, brutalised by the regime.
We want to give you the chance to rebuild your country; to rebuild your lives; to give your families a chance of a better future. It is in the spirit of friendship and goodwill that we now offer our help.