Tags: East | Europe | Stands | With | U.S. | Iraq

East Europe Stands With U.S. on Iraq

Sunday, 18 December 2005 12:00 AM

Comparing the ordeal faced by Iraq in attaining a functioning and prospering democratic republic with their own struggles after emerging from Soviet captivity, the ambassadors of four Eastern European nations declared their nations' full support of America's determination to bring democracy to that beleaguered nation.

Writing in Friday's Wall Street Journal, Rastislav Kacer, Petr Kolar, Janusz Reiter and Andras Simonyi -- the Slovak, Czech, Polish and Hungarian ambassadors to the United States, respectively -- recalled their own struggles after emerging from years of Soviet tyranny and domination.

Noting that memories of tyranny are still alive in the minds of many of the citizens of their countries, they wrote that they also remember the challenges they faced early in their democratic transition. "It is a testament to the resilience of our peoples that we are where we are now -- members of NATO and the European Union, and strong allies of the U.S.," they wrote, adding that they got there believing in the transformational power of democracy and a market economy," and admitting that they could not have made it alone. They wrote that they needed others to believe in them, too. "We needed the perseverance and support of Western democracies for freedom finally to arrive."

Iraq is in a similar situation today, they wrote, and their nations believe that free and democratic countries are obliged to help others to achieve the security and prosperity that they now enjoy. "That is why we have been part of the coalition to help democracy emerge in Iraq," they explained.

"Establishing democracy in Iraq was never going to be easy," the four men wrote. "Yet it is essential for the political and economic stability of the entire Middle East -- and also vital for the security of our countries. We are convinced that for Iraq to become a vigorous partner in the war on terrorism, the Iraqis will need our continuous help for rebuilding their country, as well as for establishing democratic institutions and a market economy. The good news is that we are not alone; it's a truly international partnership, based on a U.N. mandate. More than 30 nations are on the ground with the coalition and NATO, and more than 80 have signed up for the "new international partnership" with Iraq. European countries work closely with the U.S. on strengthening stability and democracy in Iraq, and the U.N. is providing key support to achieve our goals."

Echoing President Bush's warning that the road ahead will not be easy, they wrote that "Democratic transition is a long, painful process. It requires sacrifice. But, more than anything, it requires a belief that democratic values will prevail and people will have a better life as a result. We had that belief to guide us during the most difficult years of transition and we want to keep that belief alive in the people of Iraq. Maybe it takes countries with vivid recollections of tyranny to serve as the institutional memory of a larger community of democracies. If so, we are ready to fulfill that role."

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Comparing the ordeal faced by Iraq in attaining a functioning and prospering democratic republic with their own struggles after emerging from Soviet captivity, the ambassadors of four Eastern European nations declared their nations' full support of America's determination...
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2005-00-18
Sunday, 18 December 2005 12:00 AM
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