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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on Meeting with Iraqi Delegation
New York, New York, September 14, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I was pleased to meet today with a distinguished and diverse delegation of Iraqis who are here in New York to advocate the interests of the Iraqi people during the United Nations General Assembly. We hear so many around the world expressing compassion for the Iraqi people. Anyone who really cares about the Iraqi people, and the recovery of their once-great country, must listen to free Iraqis like these who bravely speak the truth. It is sad that some, instead, listen only to representatives of the regime that oppresses the Iraqis, that misrepresents them, and that threatens and insults their neighbors.

The United States listens carefully to the Iraqi advocates. Today, they proposed ways to hold the Baghdad regime accountable to this world body, and to the people of Iraq. They offered ideas to ease Iraqi suffering, while making the sanctions work better against the regime that defies its international legal obligations. And they again emphasized the central importance of Security Council Resolution 688, which condemned Baghdad's oppression of its own people as a threat to regional stability.

This group includes real heroes. The courage of one of these Iraqi visitors is particularly exemplary. General Najeeb al-Salihi refused to submit to the unspeakable blackmail of the Baghdad regime, directed not only at him, but also at his family, because he has written and spoken the truth about the causes of Iraq's humiliation. He stands for the millions of Iraqis who have sacrificed beyond human comprehension as they refuse to submit to oppression.

The United States salutes the courage of Iraqis everywhere in the Opposition. I wish them success in presenting to the world the true hopes and needs of the Iraqi people, and ultimately in bringing democracy and the rule of law to their country.

[End of Document]
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