OFFICIAL STATUS - October 9-10, 2003 The following are two addresses to the Iraqi people by Ambassador Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Statements by Ambassador Bremer - Status and New Iraqi Currency

Masaa al Khair.

I am Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Six months ago today Coalition Forces liberated Baghdad. I am sure that many of you were as thrilled as I was to see Saddam’s statue and his regime fall.

Most, but not all, of what has happened since then is good.

The Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of our strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. That plan has four elements:

  • Create a Secure Environment.
  • Begin Restoration of Essential Services.
  • Begin to Transform the Economy.
  • Begin the Transformation to Democracy.
Before taking your questions I would like to review briefly some of the progress in each of these areas.

Create a Secure Environment.

Six months ago there were no police on duty in Iraq.

· Today there are over 40,000 police on duty, nearly 7,000 here in Baghdad alone.
· Last night Coalition Forces and Iraqi police conducted 1,731 joint patrols.

Six months ago those elements of Saddam’s military that had not been destroyed in combat had buried their airplanes and melted away.

· Today the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.
· Across the country over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.

Six months ago there were no functioning courts in Iraq.

· Today nearly all of Iraq’s 400 courts are functioning.
· Today, for the first time in over a generation, the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

As today’s events have made clear, much remains to be done to establish an acceptable security environment. Even so, things have improved enough to ease the curfew in Baghdad to only four hours.

Begin Restoration of Essential Services.

Six months ago the entire country could generate a bare 300 megawatts of electricity.

On Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts—exceeding the pre-war average.

· If we get the funding the President has requested in his emergency budget, we expect to produce enough electricity for all Iraqis to have electrical service 24 hours daily—something essential to their hopes for the future.

Six months ago nearly all of Iraq’s schools were closed.

· Today all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
· Many of you know that we announced our plan to rehabilitate one thousand schools by the time school started—well, by October 1 we had actually rehabbed over 1,500.

Six months ago teachers were paid as little as $5.33 per month.

· Today teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

Six months ago the public health system was an empty shell. During the 1990’s Saddam cut spending on public health by over 90 percent with predictable results for the lives of his citizens.

· Today we have increased public health spending to over 26 times what it was under Saddam.
· Today all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
· Today doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
· Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
· Since liberation we have administered over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s children.

Six months ago three-quarters of Iraq’s 27,000 kilometers of irrigation canals were weed-choked and barely functional.

· Today a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of those canals. They now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.

Additionally, we have restored over three-quarters of pre-war telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.

Before the war there were 4,500 Internet connections and important services, such as instant messaging were forbidden.

· Today there are 4,900 full-service connections.
· We expect 50,000 by January first.

Begin to Transform the Economy.

Six months ago Iraq’s economy was flat on its back.

· Today anyone walking the streets can see the wheels of commerce turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.

Six months ago all banks were closed.

· Today 95 percent of all pre-war bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.
· Today Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.
· Today the central bank is fully independent.
· Today Iraq has one of the world’s most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.

Six months ago Iraq had two currencies.

· Next week Iraq will get a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.

Begin the Transformation to Democracy.

Six months ago there was no freedom of expression. Satellite dishes were illegal. Foreign journalists came on 10-day visas and paid mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for “minders” and other government spies.

· Today there is no Ministry of Information.
· Today there are more than 170 newspapers.
· Today you can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.
· Today foreign journalists and everyone else are free to come and go.

Six months ago Iraq had not one single element—legislative, judicial or executive-- of a representative government.

· Today in Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils. Baghdad’s first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.
· Today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
· Today 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq’s history, run the day-to-day business of government.
· Today the Iraqi government regularly participates in international events. Since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.

Six months ago Shia religious festivals were all but banned.

· Today, for the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.

In six short months we have accomplished a lot.

We are also aware that the progress we have made is only a beginning. A quarter century of negligence, cronyism and war mongering have devastated this country. Such profound damage cannot be repaired overnight.

Bringing Iraq up to minimum self-sufficiency will require the full $20 billion the President has asked of Congress in his supplemental budget request.

We are fighting terrorism here and we will continue to fight it until it no longer threatens the hopes of Iraqis, the hopes of the world.

The importance and urgency of this task was underscored for all of us today when terrorists car bombed a police station and assassinated a Spanish diplomat.

As the President just said, “We will wage the war on terror until it is won.”

October 10, 2003 Address reagrding the new Iraqi currency
Masaa al Khair.

I am Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Six months have now passed since the liberation of Baghdad. History will show that the toppling of Saddam’s Baathist regime was a great day for you, the people of Iraq.

Now, six months later, I am sure you know things are significantly better and improving all the time.

  • Electrical production is at pre-war levels.
  • More and more Iraqis are taking on essential security tasks, protecting your lives and property.
  • The Governing Council and the ministers they appointed are representing you around the globe in the United Nations General Assembly, in the Arab League, at the Islamic Conference Summit.
  • Your Foreign Minister announced on Thursday that Iraq will open embassies in 30 different countries.
I speak with Iraqis every day and I know of your optimism. I, like you, believe your future is full of hope.

A change is coming that further symbolizes the emergence of a new Iraq, an Iraq that is full of hope.

Beginning on 15 October you will have new currency. The old bills you have will be replaced with new ones at no cost to you. There are two real advantages for you in this system:

First, there will be bills in more denominations. Unlike today, when you must make do with bills of 250 Old Dinars or with Swiss Dinars, you will have bills worth:

  • 50 dinars
  • dinars
  • dinars
  • dinars
  • dinars, and
  • dinars.
Obviously this will make all kinds of cash transactions much easier.

Second, these new bills will be much harder to counterfeit, which will make it much harder to cheat you.

Additionally, these bills will not have Saddam’s picture on them. You will no longer have to carry the tyrant’s portrait with you.

The process of exchanging your money will be very simple. There are only a few things you need to know:

  • There is no charge of any kind to you for the exchange.
  • One old dinar equals one new dinar.
  • One “Swiss” dinar equals 150 new dinars.
  • You can exchange your old money for new at any time between 15 October and 15 January.
  • There is no advantage to exchanging early or late. You get the same number of new dinars for your old or Swiss dinars no matter when you make the exchange.
  • There is no need to rush in the first day--there will be plenty of new dinars and both old and new currencies will be accepted until January 15.
  • There will be 250 exchange points conveniently located throughout Iraq.
  • If you have a bank account the change for your money in the bank will be automatic.
  • You will also receive new currency in the normal course of business. If you work for the government and are paid in cash, your pay will come in New Dinars.
After so many problems with currency, some of you are no doubt concerned about things like where you can exchange the money and whether or not there will be enough.

I assure you that there will be plenty of new bills. We have acquired literally tons and tons of money. There will be more than enough to exchange all the old currency for new.

By now you should be seen newspaper advertisements and posters announcing this change and the location of the 250 exchange points. No doubt some of you will want to change your money in the first day or two. You are welcome to do so, but the lines might be long. If that is the case, you can wait a few days or even a few weeks. You do not have to exchange your money right away. The old money will be good until January 15 and there will be plenty of new money to go around.

Let me repeat these simple things to remember about the New Dinar:

  1. There is no charge to you.
  2. One old dinar equals one new dinar.
  3. One “Swiss” dinar equals 150 new dinars.
  4. You can change any time between 15 October and 15 January.
This new currency is a symbol of the hope in your future. It will be safer and easier for you to use. Beyond that, Saddam is off your money and out of your lives.

I tell you today, as I have in the past, your future is full of hope.

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