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Monday, 1 February 2010
proud to be friends
from the Observer, very good to read this, the words of the democratically elected president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani
The Iraqi people now have the right to build their own freedom and are deeply grateful to British prime ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, for their assistance.
At the time, I and other leaders of the Iraqi opposition asked Mr Blair's government to help the Iraqi people get rid of the dictatorship. And we praise the bravery and sacrifice of British troops.
We suffered under Saddam Hussein in ways that too many in the international community seem to have forgotten. His regime was a republic of fear, which slaughtered Iraqis on an industrial scale and attacked our neighbours. We are fortunate he has gone and that we have a chance to rebuild our society.
Iraq is one of the historical founts of modern civilisation. Our tragedy is that Saddam pillaged our potential for his own purposes.
Now that he is gone we have a great opportunity to overcome our isolation from decades of modernity and to rebuild our links with the international community. Our second parliamentary elections, on 7 March, will provide an opportunity to consolidate our growing democracy and further isolate those who use the bomb and the gun against the will of our own people.
We, as a people, have a great regard for and affection towards the British and we are seeking deep, broad and long-term relationships with your politicians, academics, sporting groups and businesses.
We are a potentially rich country but our legacy is a poor one. We value the ability of British business to unlock our resources through increased investment and by trading with us. Iraq is becoming increasingly open to commerce, which is a means of giving our people the better way of life that they seek and deserve.
It would also be in Britain's interest to continue its relationship with us. We are proud to be your friends and hope that you will always be our friends, working together for the common good of humanity.
The author is the first non-Arab president of Iraq and founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
So there we have it. The Iraqi opposition asked for help and got it. And the Guardian readers are very cross that they did. But this bloke - who is he, just a brown-skin bloke from somewhere foreign, probably doesn't even read the Guardian and has never heard of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.