Our dear, honourable people,
With all kindness and appreciation, the people of Iraq today bid farewell to His Holiness, Pope Francis, with the same love, generosity and authentic human emotion he has received. This successful noble visit, with all the welcome and national consensus it was surrounded by, represented a bright point that embodied the essence of our loving, sincere, civilized people who believe in the values of justice and peace.
The Pope’s message has reached all over the world, while he is wandering with a heart full of hope in the beloved cities of Iraq. Our people’s message reached all the peoples of the earth.
We are the people of Iraq. The people of history and civilization, and we have suffered many wars. Our blood was shed on our land. For decades, death’s black shadows spread all over our country, while evil, corruption, hatred, and terrorism wreaked havoc in our homeland. Nevertheless, our authentic metal did not rust, because the spirit of life, love of peace and adherence to human values survived. We believe, among other things, in great human values. For more than six thousand years, we have lived together, and will continue to do so. With all our diversity of religions, ethnicities, and communities, we hold each other’s hands, just as the hands of His Eminence Al-Sistani and His Holiness the Pope held each other.
Iraq is a message of humanity and peace, Iraq is the crown of tolerance, and Baghdad is the City of Peace and a platform for the intellectual movement.
Our dear beloved people,
Iraq has a real opportunity to restore its historic role in the region and the world despite all obstacles and challenges. We as a government are committed to the will of our people to achieve security, peace, reconstruction and prosperity.
Based on this historic responsibility, and in the atmosphere of love and tolerance promoted by the visit of His Holiness the Pope to the land of Iraq, the land of Mesopotamia, we present today the call for a national dialogue, to be a pathway to achieve the aspirations of our people.
We call on all the different political forces, popular and youth protesters, and opponents of the government to the table of responsible dialogue in front of our people and history. We call on our forces and political parties to give priority to the interests of the country and to move away from the language of convulsive rhetoric and political prejudice, and to prepare for the success of the early elections, and to give our people the opportunity for hope and confidence in the state and in the democratic system.
To our youth, across Iraq.
I realize the extent of your suffering, your ambitions, and the injustice that befell you, but we must be patient and unite, for the sake of Iraq, for the sake of the homeland, and for the sake of the future that befits our generation, and for this, the government needs time to protect Iraq and arrange our national home.
Inciting tension is not in the interest of the country, and sufficient time must be given to the government to build on the government’s achievements, and to secure the elections on objective and fair bases.
My dear opponents, I invite you, in all sincerity, to an open and frank dialogue with the government on the basis of the country’s interests, security and sovereignty, and on the basis of preserving the security of Iraq, supporting the state and the rule of law.
The Strategic Dialogue initiated by the government on arrangements for cooperation with the international coalition is based mainly on creating the environment and timings for the removal of all combat troops from the land of Iraq, within the framework of agreed-upon technical and timing mechanisms while preserving the best relations with the coalition countries, in a manner that guarantees the sovereignty and security of Iraq.
I also call for a genuine, deep national dialogue, at all official, party and popular levels, to reach the framework for a final agreement on the relationship between the central government and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in a way that preserves Iraq’s territorial integrity and addresses the accumulated problems for good.
Since its formation, the government has been working on restoring Iraq’s external relations and restore Iraq’s deserved status and its regional and international role. We have made advanced steps in this field, and the visit of His Holiness the Pope supported these steps. There is international support to Iraq’s economic reform project, after we succeeded in overcoming the economic crisis.
Accordingly, we call on all brothers, neighbours and friends of Iraq to preserve the values of peace and cooperation among the countries of the region and to banish the specter of wars, disagreements and conflicts that will not serve our people, who share a common history.
Today, Iraq affirms its full readiness to play an effective role in preserving the calm and opening the doors for dialogue to solve the region’s crises, and for everyone to be partners in development, not an axis of disagreement and conflicts.
Iraq has insisted on its refusal to be a field for external conflicts, and the logic of cooperation and brotherhood is the only acceptable one to our people and to Iraq.
Our honourable people,
On your behalf, I offer my thanks and appreciation to all those who contributed to the success of the historic visit of His Holiness to the land of Iraq, whether governmental institutions, popular actors, or political forces.
On behalf of all of you, I thank His Holiness the Pope who loved Iraq and the people of Iraq, and touched the goodness, depth and authenticity of this great, powerful and diverse people.
We thank your Holiness for every word of fairness towards our people, and every call for dialogue, tolerance and peace that you delivered throughout our beloved Iraq, and for every emotional interaction with the challenges that our people face.
My family throughout the country,
You are Iraq, on your footsteps, human civilizations have long lived, converging and spreading love, thought and science. You are Sumer, Babylon, Akkad and Assyria, you are the extension of the past, the present, and the future. You are Iraq, a country of the prophets, imams, saints, scholars and innovators. You are the renewed hope, and you are the creators of life.
Long live Iraq. Long live Iraq.