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UN: Bush Defends Action In Iraq, Urges Global Help In Reconstruction

United Nations, 23 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush today called on members of the United Nations to move past their divisions over Iraq and contribute to its reconstruction. Bush said the U.S.-led military coalition that ousted the regime of Saddam Hussein has defended the credibility of the UN and liberated Iraqis.

"I also recognize that some of the sovereign nations of this assembly disagreed with our actions. Yet there was and there remains unity among us on the fundamental principles and objectives of the United Nations. We are dedicated to the defense if our collective security and to the advance of human rights. These permanent commitments call us to great work in the world -- work we must do together. So let us move forward," Bush said.

Bush told the UN General Assembly that the United States is working with other Security Council members on a new resolution that would expand the UN's role in Iraq. He said the UN can assist Iraqi leaders in drafting a new constitution, training civil servants, and conducting elections.

But Bush said the political transition process in Iraq cannot be either hurried or delayed by "wishes of other parties." France and Germany have called for a quick return of sovereignty to Iraqis.