Published: 2014/1/12 14:10
Baghdad (Forat) -Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Brett McGurk completed a visit on Saturday to Baghdad where he met with national and local leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss the security situation in western Iraq.
A statement by the US Embassy in Baghdad received by Alforat News Agency "McGurk's itinerary included meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Speaker Osama Nijaifi, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutleg, Deputy Prime Minister Hussain Shihristani, head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim, and members of the Council of Representatives from the Iraqiya and State of Law blocs. He also conferred with prominent leaders from Anbar province, including Governor Ahmed Khalaf, Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, and former Minister of Finance Rafi al-Esawi."
"In all of these meetings, DAS McGurk confirmed the enduring U.S. commitment to the Government and people of Iraq in their efforts to isolate and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He noted the encouraging trend in Ramadi where local leaders, working with tribes and supported with resources from Baghdad, have pushed ISIL to the outskirts of the city. He further noted the planning to separate ISIL and other militant groups from the population in Fallujah using a similar strategy while also accounting for the unique circumstances there. The United States, he emphasized, will provide all necessary and appropriate assistance to the Government of Iraq (GOI) under the Strategic Framework Agreement to help ensure that these efforts succeed," the statement continued.
"In addition, McGurk stressed with all of these leaders that long-term stability requires a close fusion of security and political measures, as well as guarantees from the GOI that courageous and patriotic Iraqi citizens who stand to fight ISIL and other extremist groups be recognized and ultimately incorporated into the formal security structures of the state. He further emphasized to all parties the importance of pursuing political initiatives and addressing the legitimate grievances of all communities within the framework of the Iraqi constitution," the statement mentioned.
"DAS McGurk also met with a team from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), including Special Representative to the Secretary General Nickolay Mladenov, to discuss UNAMI's humanitarian efforts in western Iraq as well as preparations for parliamentary elections to be held on April 30th. McGurk welcomed the convoy of aid that reached Fallujah on Friday thanks to close cooperation between UNAMI and the GOI's Ministry of Defense. He also confirmed the strong U.S. Support for elections to be held on time, noting the rights of the Iraqi people under the Iraqi constitutional to hold their national leaders accountable every four years," the statement added.
On Saturday, DAS McGurk traveled to Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), where he met with President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister of the GOI, Rowsch Shaways, and Second Deputy Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Barham Saleh. McGurk welcomed the KRG's support for political and security initiatives targeting ISIL and noted the success of the KRG's security services in dismantling an ISIL cell that had earlier targeted Erbil. McGurk further encouraged Erbil and Baghdad to finalize arrangements to promote the export of hydrocarbon resources from all parts of Iraq, including from the IKR, in a manner that benefits all Iraqis on a fair and equitable basis. He stressed throughout the United States' commitment to the vision of a unified and federal Iraq as defined in the Iraqi constitution," the statement concluded.
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