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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 December, 2003, 20:02 GMT
Blair statement in full
Tony Blair
Blair delivered his message from Number 10
UK prime minister Tony Blair, speaking from Downing Street, gives his reaction to the news of Saddam Hussein's capture.

The shadow of Saddam is finally lifted from the Iraqi people. We give thanks for that, but let this be more than a cause simply for rejoicing.

Let it be a moment to reach out and to reconcile.

To the Sunnis whose allegiance Saddam falsely claimed, I say there is a place for you playing a full part in a new and a democratic Iraq.

To those formally in Saddam's Party, there by force and not by conviction, I say we can put the past behind us.

Where his rule meant terror and division and brutality let his capture bring about unity, reconciliation and peace between all the people in Iraq.

Saddam has gone from power. He won't be coming back. That the Iraqi people now know and it is they who will decide his fate.

And in Iraq today we work hard, the coalition forces from 30 different nations and Iraqis who love their country and who work hard with us to rebuild Iraq to nurture its wealth for all its people, to bring prosperity and freedom to those people.
Let his capture bring about unity, reconciliation and peace between all the people in Iraq

In the timetable we have established, power will be handed over to Iraqis to run Iraq as a sovereign independent state based on the principles of justice and democracy and the rule of law.

And let us lay one myth to rest today. We have a common interest, coalition forces and Iraqi people.

Our purpose is a shared purpose. Our victory a shared victory.

The coalition needs an Iraq that is stable and prosperous for the good of Iraq, the region and the wider world.

The Iraqi people who were reduced to poverty and to penury by Saddam and his sons, they desire no more than to live in peace to develop their nation's wealth and to put freedom in the place of dictatorship.

We're on the same side.

And who is against us?
Muslims were Saddam's victims. Muslims today in Iraq are the beneficiaries of his demise

The tiny minority of Iraqis who wanted Saddam back and must now know that their cause is a futile one, and assorted foreign terrorists who have entered Iraq whose greatest fear is that a new Iraq spells the end of their vile campaign of terror and propaganda against the Arab and the Western world working in partnership together.

The rebirth of Iraq is the death of their attempt to sell the lie that we are fighting Muslims.

Muslims were Saddam's victims. Muslims today in Iraq are the beneficiaries of his demise.

Let's remember all those Iraqis that died under Saddam.

The remains of 400,000 human beings already found in mass graves.

So this is a time for celebration, but it's also a time to look forward to unify and to reconcile.

Our thanks go to the coalition forces and the intelligence services who brought about Saddam's capture.

Once again they have proved their professionalism, their courage and their commitment.

But let us give thanks to those brave Iraqis who have helped in his capture, who in the new Iraqi administration, police and defence forces risk their lives daily for the good of their people.

They are the representatives of the new Iraq in action today.

So now is a time of great opportunity. Let us seize it and use it for the good of the people of Iraq, for the people in the Middle East and for the people of our world."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Prime Minister Tony Blair:
"The shadow of Saddam is finally lifted from the Iraqi people"




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