PM's message broadcast to Iraqi people
Mr Blair said:
"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."
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.
PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH:
This is George W Bush, the President of the United States. At this moment, the regime of Saddam Hussein is being removed from power, and a long era of fear and cruelty is ending. American and coalition forces are now operating inside Baghdad - and we will not stop until Saddam's corrupt gang is gone. The government of Iraq, and the future of your country, will soon belong to you.
The goals of our coalition are clear and limited. We will end a brutal regime, whose aggression and weapons of mass destruction make it a unique threat to the world. Coalition forces will help maintain law and order, so that Iraqis can live in security. We will respect your great religious traditions, whose principles of equality and compassion are essential to Iraq's future. We will help you build a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens. And then our military forces will leave. Iraq will go forward as a unified, independent and sovereign nation that has regained a respected place in the world.
The United States and its coalition partners respect the people of Iraq. We are taking unprecedented measures to spare the lives of innocent Iraqi citizens, and are beginning to deliver food, water and medicine to those in need. Our only enemy is Saddam's brutal regime - and that regime is your enemy as well.
In the new era that is coming to Iraq, your country will no longer be held captive to the will of a cruel dictator. You will be free to build a better life, instead of building more palaces for Saddam and his sons, free to pursue economic prosperity without the hardship of economic sanctions, free to travel and speak your mind, free to join in the political affairs of Iraq. And all the people who make up your country - Kurds, Shi'a, Turkomans, Sunnis, and others - will be free of the terrible persecution that so many have endured.
The nightmare that Saddam Hussein has brought to your nation will soon be over. You are a good and gifted people - the heirs of a great civilisation that contributes to all humanity. You deserve better than tyranny and corruption and torture chambers. You deserve to live as free people. And I assure every citizen of Iraq: your nation will soon be free.
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