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Bush to troops in Qatar: 'Mission accomplished'

Bush lauded the troops:
Bush lauded the troops: "Because of you, a great evil has been ended."

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Bush tells U.S. troops in Qatar: 'America sent you on a mission, and that mission has been accomplished.'
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• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- President Bush told U.S. troops in Qatar on Thursday that their duty and sacrifice had liberated the people of Iraq and helped in defeating global terrorism.

"Our actions sent along a clear message that our nation is strong and our nation is compassionate," Bush told the troops at the rally. "America sent you on a mission and that mission has been accomplished."

Introduced by U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the forces that brought down Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Bush told the troops: "Your families are proud, and so is America."

"Dictators can no longer shield themselves behind innocent people," Bush said. "Those who threaten the security of others now need to worry about their own."

The assembled soldiers roared their approval when Bush told them he was "proud to be traveling with a fantastic secretary of state" -- Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The president praised Britain, Australia, and Poland, nations that also sent forces to the region.

Bush also received an update on the situation in Iraq from Franks and Paul Bremer, U.S. civil administrator in Iraq.

Qatar, a country about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, is where the U.S. Central Command has been based since the buildup for the U.S.-led war began.

The emirate is making democratic reforms. In late April, an overwhelming number of voters approved the country's new draft constitution that would give elected members a voice in how the country is run.

The president also met with Qatar's head of state, Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to thank him for his support from the Persian Gulf War to the Iraq War.

Bush's visit to Qatar, a staunch U.S. ally that allowed the United States to base troops, weapons and combat equipment there, was his final stop on a weeklong trip. It also marked the first visit to Qatar by a U.S. president.

Bush told the troops that coalition forces will "reveal the truth" in their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"We're going to look," Bush said. "We'll reveal the truth, but one thing is certain -- no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because the Iraqi regime is no more." (Full story)

In making the case for launching a military strike against Iraq, Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had repeatedly said Saddam was harboring and developing weapons of mass destruction.

No such weapons have been found, more than a month after Bush declared major combat has finished in Iraq. Administration officials say recently discovered trailers in Iraq are evidence of Saddam's effort to produce biological weapons.

The president arrived in Qatar after leading an Israeli-Palestinian summit on the so-called road map to peace, aimed at ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and establishing an independent Palestinian state by 2005.

After the summit, Bush said he believed an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is possible because both sides are "sick and tired of death."

"I will tell you that I'm pleased with the last two days," Bush told reporters en route to Qatar. "We have made a good beginning. And I emphasize beginning, because there's a lot of work to do." (Full story)

The presidential plane Air Force One flew over Iraq for about an hour before heading back to Washington.

CNN Senior White House Correspondent John King and CNN.com Producer Sean Loughlin contributed to this report.


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