Supporting the Bill of Rights
Activity 3

April 28 Baghdad meeting
"advances the national dialogue among Iraqis"

April 29, 2003

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher told the news media on April 28 that the choice of a new government in Iraq "belongs to the Iraqi people." He was speaking at the State Department daily briefing.

Boucher said over 250 Iraqi representatives, from various levels of Iraqi society and ethnic groups, from inside Iraq and from the expatriate and opposition communities, convened in Baghdad "to advance the national dialogue among Iraqis regarding composition of an Iraqi interim authority."

Also at the Baghdad meeting were U.S. Presidential Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, Office of Reconstruction Director Jay Garner, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ryan Crocker.

The Baghdad meeting builds upon the historic April 15 meeting held near Nasiriya. "That was the first of several meetings designed to provide Iraqis their own forum to discuss their visions for the future, participation in the Iraqi interim authority, and how best to chart a course towards democratic government," Boucher said.

The U.S. expects that the interim authority that results from this process will be broad-based, and fully representative, Boucher said, including members from all of Iraq's ethnic groups, regions and the diaspora.