Rice defends war on Iraq

May 29th, 2008 - 7:42 pm ICT by admin  

Stockholm, May 29 (Xinhua) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday defended the US-led war on Iraq in 2003, dismissing allegations by a former White House press secretary that US President George W. Bush misled Americans into the war. Asked how the US can lead an international consensus on rebuilding Iraq in the context of charges by Scott McClellan, Rice said she would not comment on a book that she has not read. But the case for war was clear, she said.

Rice was in Stockholm for an international conference on Iraq.

“The concerns about weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq were the fundamental reasons for dozens of resolutions within the UN Security Council from the time that Saddam was expelled from Kuwait in 1991 up until 2003,” Rice told reporters after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

“Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction, that led him to throw (UN) inspectors out effectively, leading the Clinton administration to take military action against Iraq,” Rice said.

“It was not US alone that knew Saddam Hussein had of course used weapons of mass destruction both against his own population and Iranians,” she said.

“The story is there for everyone to see. You can’t now transplant yourself into the present and say we should have known what we, in fact, did not know in 2001, 2002 and 2003″ she added.

DPA adds: Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a UN-Iraq conference Thursday that his country had “achieved progress”, and remained “optimistic”.

Despite “security challenges” Iraq managed to make progress in areas ranging from reducing inflation, child mortality rates and increasing security for the population during the past year.

Oil exports had also boosted the country’s economy, al-Maliki told the conference outside Stockholm - a follow-up to the International Compact for Iraq (ICI) launched a year ago at a summit in Egypt.

The Iraqi premier called for “sister countries to forgive debts” and stated that Baghdad was committed to tackle corruption.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also said “notable progress” had been made in security, political and economic areas, but cautioned that “Iraqi people continue to suffer from acts of terrorism, sectarian violence and criminality.”

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