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Transcript of Ambassador Negroponte Speech on the occasion of the Flag Raising ceremony at the Embassy of the United States of America in Iraq
June 30, 2004
Thank you very much, Mr Frye. I would like to acknowledge the presence here of General Sanchez. We thank you for being present. I also want to welcome my new colleague, General George Casey, who arrived here yesterday evening and who will be assuming command of MNFI tomorrow. And also acknowledge the presence of my Deputy Chief of Mission, Ambassador James Jeffrey.
Ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests, colleagues one and all, it has been thirteen years since the American flag was last lowered at the United States Embassy in Baghdad on a day as dark as today is bright. This afternoon we have the honor to once again see Old Glory back where she belongs. Wherever one is able to reopen an Embassy, of course, it is a high privilege, but nowhere more so than here in Iraq.
These have been a long difficult thirteen years, and now there is a new Iraq to explore -- the likes of which has no precedent in the history of this ancient land. Our presence, our outreach and our insight into Iraq?s political life, its economy and its society, will be crucial to shaping a new era in bilateral relations. We reopen the United States Embassy in Baghdad convinced that the spirit of freedom summons Americans and Iraqis to great acts of friendship and cooperation. This is the fundamental meaning of the act that we now perform. I would ask that we please raise the flag.
(Flag is raised by Marines.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for being with us today. The Embassy of the United States of America in Iraq is once again open for business. I would now like to invite you to join me for refreshments. Thank you very much.
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