Future in Hands of Its Own People,
U.S. Officials Say
Sgt. 1st Class
Doug Sample, AFPS
May 2, 2003 — Three senior U.S. government officials agreed
that humanitarian efforts to renew and restore Iraq have gone
well so far, and movement will continue to return Iraq to the
of Defense Dov Zakheim, DoD comptroller and chief financial officer,
Undersecretary of State Alan Larson and Undersecretary of Treasury
John Taylor, updated Arab and Muslim reporters in a press conference
here May 1. Larson is in charge of economic business and agricultural
affairs at the State Department; Taylor handles international
affairs for the Treasury Department.
every intention to hand over quickly as feasible the management
of the … 23 ministries to the Iraqi people," Zakheim
said. "It’s not a simple matter," he said. "The
idea is to move as quickly as possible to get Iraqis in jobs that
Iraqis should conduct."
He told reporters
that the "only objective, one objective only, is to renew,
revitalize the spirit of Iraqi life." And he emphasized that
the Iraqi people and Iraq’s future elected government will have
an important role in that rebuilding process.
that the U.S. Agency for International Development, along with
DoD’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, have
begun restoring much of Iraq’s water supply and electricity, and
many schools and hospitals are operating again.
out that five power-generating plants in southern Iraq are now
in operation for the first time since 1991.
He said the
reconstruction office’s work led by retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay
Garner, with a multi-agency federal and international staff, "demonstrates
that the world is working together to renew Iraq."
is an example of the level of international cooperation and effort
that is going to yield considerably and increasingly greater results
for the Iraqi people," Zakheim said.
He also pointed
out "there are no refugee crises. There isn’t really a hunger
crisis either, and that’s terribly important to bear in mind.
The kinds of dislocation that people kept predicting and predicting,
whether economic dislocations or human dislocations just have
Iraq is coming from neighboring Muslim countries, Larson said,
citing that Kuwait, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have delivered
food and medical supplies. Morocco has sent in a medical team,
that he believes that Turkey, which as has been active in Afghanistan’s
reconstruction, will help in Iraq as well.
includes rebuilding security in Iraq. Zakheim said that Iraqis
would see more "veteran professionals who really are in the
business of policing, as opposed to being in the business of fighting."
Military and civilian police would evolve from "a demand
that has to be worked out in a rational, effective, and smooth-flowing
out that the Iraqi economy had declined for the past 25 years
under Saddam Hussein regime. During that period, Taylor said the
country’s gross national product went from $128 billion to about
$30 billion. "Income per capita was $3,000, now it’s half
that amount at best," he added.
we would like to do is to help the people of Iraqi restore economic
growth in their country so that they can begin to prosper like
many other countries in the world have, who have not been under
such repression," Taylor said.
very interested in working with the people there so that they
can prosper and benefit from the talent that they have, from the
education that they have and from the great amount of resources
in the country."
that economic growth could be very strong in Iraq with the "right
circumstances" and that the environment there is very conducive
to capital investment.
begun to see businesses starting up and entrepreneurs going to
work, I really expect to see more of that and a real thriving
economy down the road. We very much hope so," he said.
to questions on who will control Iraq’s oil reserves, Larson said
"Iraqi oil is a trust for the Iraqi people and must be used
for the benefit of the Iraqi people."
He said that
the basic infrastructure for processing and transporting oil has
been protected and that Iraq’s oil reserves contribute importantly
to the development of Iraq and the efforts of the Iraqi people
to rebuild their country.
that Iraqi people who have oil-industry expertise will play a
prominently in the process of getting the country’s oil industry
big decisions about the future of the Iraqi oil industry are decisions
that should be left to the future Iraqi government to make,"
he said. Larson said the United States will work as stewards to
help Iraqi oil experts safeguard oil assets for the benefit of
the Iraqi people.
added that he supports lifting U.N. sanctions on Iraq’s oil that
were in place to prevent Saddam Hussein from buying weapons of
purpose for sanctions no longer exist," Larson said. "We
believe it is appropriate for the Security Council to move forward
and recognize that we’re in the new era now and that it’s time
for the oil production of the Iraqi people to be used to generate
revenue that can contribute to their economic development."