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ARAB-US RELATIONS - April 2 - Bush Declares End To Military Phase In Iraq.

Speaking from the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln before thousands of uniformed sailors and aviators as the ship approaches San Diego Harbour, Pres. Bush says: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended... In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed". He declares that the military phase of the battle to topple Saddam Hussein's government is "one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11th, 2001, and still goes on". He argues that by vanquishing Saddam's government, he has removed "an ally of Al Qaida", and he vows to continue to search for banned weapons in Iraq - a search that so far has been largely unsuccessful - and to confront any other nations that use such weapons to threaten the US or could sell them to terrorists. Bush does not declare final victory in Iraq. Much remains to be done, he says, in rebuilding Iraq, and he promises that allied forces will stay as long as necessary. He makes it clear that he considers the Iraq conflict just one major moment of a broader fight that he will pursue against Al Qaida and other terrorists. He says: "We have not forgotten the victims of Sept. 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got". (The Bush administration has never linked the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon to Saddam Hussein, although senior officials did charge that Iraq had ties to Al Qaida). Bush's stern words about governments that support terrorism and pursue illegal weapons programmes appear to be a direct warning to Iran and North Korea and "any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups, and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction". Those states, Bush says, pose "a grave danger to the civilised world, and will be confronted". (Just in the last week, the State Department said Iran had the deepest ties to terrorism of any nation in the world, and North Korea boasted that it had already obtained nuclear weapons and was making more).
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:May 3, 2003
Previous Article:ARAB-US RELATIONS - April 29 - Al Qaida Mastermind Held In Pakistan.
Next Article:AFGHANISTAN - April 27 - Rumsfeld To Shift Focus From 'Combat' To 'Stability'.

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