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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 26, 2000

     The Vice President met with senior leaders of the Iraqi National

Congress today to review the agenda of work between the United States Government and the Iraqi National Congress.

The INC and the Vice President reaffirmed their joint desire to see a united Iraq served by a representative and democratic government responsive to the needs of its people and willing to live in peace with its neighbors.

The Vice President reaffirmed the Administration's strong commitment to the objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power, and to bringing him and his inner circle to justice for their war crimes and crimes against humanity. Saddam's removal is the key to the positive transformation of Iraq's relationship with the international community and with the United States, in particular.

The United States views the INC as an authoritative and representative voice for the people of Iraq in their struggle to free themselves from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. In particular, both sides discussed measures by which the INC could improve their ability to represent the will of the Iraqi people both inside Iraq and on the world stage.

The INC and the Vice President discussed the methods by which the INC could make the most effective use of assistance available under the authorities of the Iraq Liberation Act and related legislation. Both sides committed themselves to finding ways to speed the absorption of that assistance in support of the expressed objective of strengthening the INC?s ability to project the voice of the Iraqi people.

The Vice President welcomed the commitment from the Kurdish leaders to the cause of Iraqi national liberation and to advance the reconciliation between their two parties. Their success of will once again demonstrate the Iraqi people's ability to conduct their own affairs and to preserve Iraq's national unity and territorial integrity in freedom.

The INC proposed ways to ease the burden of sanctions from the Iraqi people. The Vice President reaffirmed American concern for the welfare of the Iraqi people. In this context, he reiterated US support to expand the oil-for-food program and to streamline the contract approval process as provided in UNSCR 1284. He further emphasized the US concern for the safety and security of all the Iraqi people in accordance with UNSCR 688, which condemns Saddam Hussein's repression of the Iraqi people as a threat to regional stability.