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U.S. Embassy Baghdad On Deputy Secretary Burns' Visit To Iraq

Published on 30 January 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


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U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State

Office of the Spokesman
JANUARY 28, 2014

Deputy Secretary William Burns Completes Visit to Iraq for Strategic Consultations

Deputy Secretary Burns met today in Baghdad with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Speaker of the Council of Representatives Osama Nujaifi, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, and National Security Advisor Faleh Fayyad. In all of these meetings, the Deputy Secretary confirmed the enduring U.S. commitment to Iraq as defined in the Strategic Framework Agreement.

Regarding the security situation, the Deputy Secretary stressed the importance of a holistic security and political strategy to isolate and defeat terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He praised the strategy in Ramadi where local and tribal officials are playing a leading role in pushing terrorists out of the city, and encouraged the Government of Iraq (GOI) to follow through on its commitment to incorporate tribal fighters into the formal security structures of the state.

The Deputy Secretary also reviewed preparations for national elections to be held on April 30, noting the importance of holding elections on time and ensuring that those displaced from fighting in Fallujah and other cities in Anbar province are able to vote. He confirmed the U.S. commitment to Iraq's political process as defined in the Iraqi constitution and the right of all Iraqi citizens to hold their leaders accountable through regularly scheduled elections.

The Deputy Secretary finally reviewed the regional situation and noted strengthened relations over the past year between Iraq and its important neighbors Jordan and Kuwait. He further encouraged all relevant parties to conclude a framework agreement for exporting oil from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to Turkey, noting the progress that has been made in recent talks between Baghdad and Erbil. He emphasized the serious risks to long-term stability should such exports begin before this deal is finalized.

The Deputy Secretary also commended the decision today by the Council of Ministers to contribute to the UN trust fund to cover costs of re-settling residents of Camp Liberty to a third country. He emphasized in all of his meetings the importance of close cooperation between the GOI, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and the residents of Camp Liberty to ensure their safety and security pending their re-settlement outside of Iraq.



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Posted 2014-01-30 10:43:00