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Section : Iraq
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Baghdad / Obelisk: US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken explained, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, during the launch of the third round of the Iraqi-American strategic dialogue on the importance of partnership in the field of investment in various sectors and strengthening the presence of American investment companies with experience and efficiency, to ensure the smooth flow of their work in the promising Iraqi markets .
The following is the text of the speech of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken:
Honorable representatives of the American and Iraqi side … Peace be upon you …
At the outset of my speech, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation for your response to the invitation to hold the third round of the strategic dialogue, and to convene the implementation of the supreme committee emanating from the strategic framework agreement for the relationship of friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America.
Allow me to welcome the attendees of the committee representatives from the American and Iraqi sides, and I commend the sincere efforts made by the two sides to overcome the obstacles and make this round of dialogue a success. Ladies and gentlemen, when we talk about the depth of the relationship between the two friendly countries and the relationship of the strategic partnership, we can only recall the efforts of the United States of America and the support provided to Iraq, in a way that enhances security, stability and democracy in it, and an end to the era of the previous regime, which today marks the anniversary of the founding of its defunct party Where the Iraqi people chose to live in freedom and dignity and reject injustice.
Our meeting today comes as an affirmation of the partnership relationship between Iraq and the United States, and the serious efforts of the two governments to strengthen it and complete the joint efforts that were made in the previous two rounds of the strategic dialogue, as the first round was held virtually on June 11, 2020, while the second was held in Washington DC on the ninth The tenth of August 2020, and resulted in the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements on basic principles that covered many sectors such as (the oil and gas sector, electricity, the financial sector, the health, environmental, and cultural in addition to the security and military aspects).
In our meeting today, we look forward to completing the tangible progress achieved in the aforementioned aspects, and working to implement what the two sides agreed upon during this round of strategic dialogue.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, the Iraqi government has enshrined the principles of the constitution through its government approach, and has worked to consolidate human rights, values of citizenship and respect for religious, sectarian, ethnic and national diversity in Iraq, and it is going to lay the foundations of democracy.
Among the priorities of the government is to hold early elections in response to popular demands and achieve political and economic reform. Therefore, the Iraqi parliament has enacted the new election law, and a date has been set for its conduct on the tenth of October of this year, and the Iraqi government is working to ensure the broad participation of all components of the Iraqi people With a commitment to strengthening monitoring and providing financial, logistical and security requirements, to achieve the highest standards of integrity and transparency, with international oversight in this electoral process, to ensure successful elections. In the context of the relationship between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, the relationship has witnessed a development towards solving the outstanding problems leading to the approval of the federal budget.
And in line with the government’s approach to adopting a policy of balance in its foreign relations and positive neutrality and distancing Iraq from being an arena for conflicts and moving away from the policy of axes, as Iraq is witnessing an openness in its relations within its Arab environment and its Islamic neighborhood and on the international level as well, which confirms that Iraq has restored its role as a meeting point for regional partnerships. And international to achieve mutual interests.
The recent visit of (His Holiness Pope Francis) to Iraq came to confirm that Iraq today is a regional and international gateway to spread peace and love between the peoples of the region and the world, as a country for peaceful coexistence between its components regardless of their ethnic, racial and religious affiliations, and it represents a beacon to spread love among the peoples of the region who seek Peace and freedom. Ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret that we faced together many security challenges during the last stage, and I would like to point out the Iraqi government’s praise for the efforts made by the United States government to rehabilitate and train the Iraqi security forces, equip them, and provide advice in the intelligence field up to the readiness required in relying on Its own capabilities in order to enhance the sovereignty and security of Iraq and preserve its gains by defeating the terrorist organization ISIS.
On this occasion, I highly value cooperation and joint coordination between Iraqi security forces of all kinds with the international coalition forces led by the United States of America, which participated and still are in defeating the “terrorist organization ISIS” to complete its final elimination, describing the terrorist organization as a threat not only to Iraq and Syria, Rather, the region as a whole and its reflection on international peace and security.
We affirm that our security forces still need the programs provided by the United States of America related to training, arming, equipping and developing expertise, and we seek to continue coordination and bilateral security cooperation.
We affirm the commitment of the Government of Iraq to protect the personnel of diplomatic missions, their headquarters and their facilities. Ladies and gentlemen, the Iraqi government has worked since the first day of assuming its duties to accomplish its economic reform program, and to achieve this, it launched its White Paper and sought to fundamentally change its economic policy, and its main goal was to diversify the resources of the Iraqi economy, which depends on oil exports.
This radical change has faced great challenges, foremost of which are the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the sharp decline in oil prices, early last year, which cast a shadow over the various sectors of the state, especially the health sector and its shortage of resources and equipment, the economy and money sector, which is A challenge added to, among other challenges.
In order to implement the Iraqi government’s economic reform program, this requires stimulation of international support and an enhancement of expertise in this regard.
In the field of energy, I would like to emphasize that the government of Iraq is determined to achieve its security in this sector and to totally depend on its resources, especially in the field of gas, to stop its waste and emissions harmful to the environment, and to rely on electric energy produced locally through its stations, and on clean and renewable energy sources, which is a new and promising step. In Iraq, and in this regard, we call on the United States to strengthen our partnership through memoranda and agreements signed between the two countries, and what will be agreed upon later, especially in the aspect of developing the oil and gas fields and the electricity sector, in order to achieve the desired goal and what we aspire to be self-sufficiency in the energy field.
We affirm the importance of partnership in the field of investment in various sectors, and enhance the presence of American investment companies with experience and competence to ensure the smooth flow of their work in the promising Iraqi markets, and we also call for strengthening partnership projects in various important and vital sectors.
I confirm Iraq’s keenness to cooperate and strengthen partnership with the United States of America in all fields, especially security, as well as in the fields of energy, health, environment, economy, culture, and education, in a way that enhances the common interests between the two friendly countries, and we hope in our talks today to reach understandings and agreements It is shared by all sectors of cooperation, and we look forward to the continuation of the strategic dialogue between the two countries in subsequent rounds.
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