The full text of the speech of the Iraqi president in the Davos forum .. This is what he said about the American withdrawal

 Politics    01/22/2020:13  1367          

Baghdad today – Baghdad

The President of the Republic, Barham Salih, said on Wednesday (22/2-2020) that the request to leave the American forces from Iraq is a reaction to what many Iraqis consider a lack of respect for sovereignty.

Saleh said in his speech on the sidelines of the Davos Forum: “No one will be surprised in this room when I say frankly: These are difficult times for Iraq.”

“The demonstrators, most of them Iraqi youth, have been demonstrating in the streets for nearly four months, putting their lives on the line to demand change. They have deep desires and demands for fair economic opportunities and a homeland, and to hear their voices and be answered”, “he said,” while at the same time, The escalation of the regional conflict threatens our sovereignty. We are in the eye of the storm. ”

He added: “I have confidence that Iraq can rise to these challenges, rather than fall prey to it. We can still emerge towards a better, stronger, more coherent and prosperous country.”

President Saleh recalled his speech in New York before the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, explaining: “I set out a vision of hope and prosperity for the future of Iraq and the Middle East. While we recognize the fragility of stability and security that was so painstakingly achieved at the time, we had Much of what we hope to accomplish. The scourge of ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, thanks to the great sacrifices of the Iraqi forces: the Iraqi army, the PMF, the Peshmerga and other units, and with the great support of the international community. ”

He explained: “My vision was then, and still is, for Iraq – which is located in the heart of the Middle East – to be a force for stability and a bridge for more economic integration in the region.”

Regarding the situation in the region, he said, “The escalating tensions between Iran, the Gulf states and the United States have reminded us over the past month that our ambitions remain subject to political disputes outside our control and unwanted foreign interference,” explaining, “We seek good relations with everyone, and we have no interest in being drawn into Conflicts are not among our options and making. If our neighbors and allies remain at odds, our sovereignty is not respected, and our lands are used as a battlefield, we cannot hope to achieve our agenda of change. ”

President Saleh indicated that “Iraq is grateful for the international coalition led by the United States, especially for the military and economic support it provided, and continues to provide, in the war against ISIS. This military alliance of the US-led coalition was effective in allowing Iraqi forces to win this existential battle “But Iran also played a pivotal role in the war against ISIS, and we share ancient geographical ties, water resources, economics, and religion with Iran,” he added.

He continued his speech, “As the relations and interests of Iraq are inextricably linked to its Arab depth, and it goes without saying that Turkey, our northern neighbor, has implications for our interests. The political geography of Iraq is very interesting, and it is a challenge and vitality,” stressing, “it is not in our interest to choose Allying with one at the expense of others as long as he respects our sovereignty and independence. ”

President Saleh warned, “But no country should seek to dictate Iraq to whom we should have relations with and how. Our policies and diplomatic and economic ties must be driven by our national interests, not the interests of others, and even the interests of our allies. The sovereignty and stability of Iraq. It must be the common interest of our neighbors and our international partners. We must not be penalized for protecting our sovereign interests or seeking to advance our military independence. ”

He explained that “the recent call of the Iraqi parliament to withdraw the American forces from our country is not a sign of ambiguity or hostility. It is a reaction to what many Iraqis see as violations of the sovereignty of their country. This issue will be resolved through dialogue at its core that must be the sovereignty and stability of Iraq.”

President Saleh stressed, “I still believe that Iraq can be a catalyst for positive change. Not only is the country that, since the time of Mesopotamia, the cradle of human civilization and a melting pot of different faiths, sects and races. Few countries have faced the horrors of war, violent repression and attacks. Chemical, mass graves, sanctions and sectarian and ethnic bloodshed as my country has faced, but people yearn for peace and stability more. ”

“These bitter experiences have taught us that despite our differences, there is more that binds us together than separates us. The demonstrators are another sign of this, as they demonstrate their patriotism and their commitment to Iraq daily in the streets of Baghdad.”

He pointed out, “There is a need for regional frameworks for security, economic and commercial cooperation that provide a means for political dialogue and resolving disputes between enemies. We must seek to find our solutions to our own problems. This is what Iraqi youth are calling for in peaceful protests in the streets of Baghdad and other cities, which began since what Almost four months. ”

On violence against demonstrators, he said, “It is devastating and painful that violence by outlaws has killed more than 600 innocent peaceful demonstrators – most of them young men born in the 1990s and beyond – as well as many security personnel. I condemn these crimes in the strongest terms.” And its perpetrators will be dealt with according to the law. Justice and security are the foundation of the state and society – the nation, and peaceful protest is a fundamental right. ”

He stressed that “Iraqi youth protest for a better life, a homeland, more jobs, better services, and an end to corruption that has paralyzed our country for a long time. The same thing I want with them. They want Iraqi patriotism to be inclusive, not divided according to For social identity. They want a democratic political system that reflects their collective identity and restores their dignity. They want free and fair elections. ”

President Saleh added, “This will not be an easy process. It cannot be achieved overnight. We need to restore the confidence of the Iraqis in their government and reconsider our laws and constitution to see how it can be done to renew and strengthen ties between Iraqi leaders and our people, allowing for the first time to fully represent the latter.” We also need to create conditions for sustainable economic growth and job creation for our rapidly growing young population. Youth unemployment is already rampant, and it will only get worse if we do not provide our young people with the education and skills they need to succeed. ”

“The Iraqi state cannot do this on its own. The public sector is already confused. We need to strengthen our private sector that is still emerging, and I look forward to those gathered here today to play their part by bringing in foreign investment and skills to Iraq. We need to become a country in which it enjoys Iraqis and foreigners are confident to invest in the long term, and where the private sector feels the impact and influence. As such, we must create the legal and regulatory foundations to protect investors and liberalize markets. ”

President Saleh stressed, “Corruption must be eliminated once and for all, and good governance and the rule of law must be established in practice, rather than just words and rhetoric that are repeated endlessly and repeatedly.”

On infrastructure, he said, “We need to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure to create the foundations for economic growth. Rebuilding and restoration of areas destroyed in the war against ISIS remains a priority. We need new ports, highway and railway networks, airports, industrial cities and dams. We need We need new projects for land reclamation and irrigation, and we need support to train our young generation to be a productive citizen in the vibrant economy of the twenty-first century. ”

The president warned, “Iraq cannot do any of this on its own. Both the capital investments and the necessary expertise will be huge. Once again, Iraq looks to the international financial institutions, donor countries, sovereign wealth funds, the international private sector – in other words, all of you – to be our partners.”

And he added, “These are difficult times for Iraq and the region.” He said, “We have benefited a lot during these difficult times from the wisdom and guidance of Najaf, especially His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who confirmed his leadership in our darkest critical days, which helped connect Iraq to safer beaches.” “I am sure I speak for you all when I say I pray for his speedy recovery from recent surgery. Indeed, God has blessed us with the Najaf reference that was an anchor of moderation, tolerance, and reforms – and indeed it was to assert Iraqi sovereignty.”

President Saleh concluded, “We Iraqis know that the future lies in our hands. But we are also grateful for the help of our partners, from east and west, and we know that their commitment to us is vital to our success.

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