Transcript: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s remarks on the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq

Transcript of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s remarks on the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (interpretation provided by 

“Positive atmosphere that prevailed among us, and for the obligations, the common obligations, of ending the war, and the commitment to which the American forces will withdraw from Iraq, which is a withdrawal that affects — that indicates success, and not like others have said that it was negative, but the goals that we established were achieved.

“Iraq had a political process established, a democratic process, and adoption of the principles of elections and the transfer — peaceful transfer of authority.  Iraq is following a policy, a foreign policy, which does not intervene in the affairs of others and does not allow the others to intervene in its own affairs.  Iraq is looking for common grounds with the others, and establishes its interest at the forefront and the interest of the others, which it is concerned about, like from any confusion.

“Your Excellency, today we meet in Washington after we have completed the first page of a constructive cooperation in which we also thank you and appreciate you for your commitment to everything that you have committed yourself to.  And anyone who observes the nature of the relationship between the two countries will say that the relationship will not end with the departure of the last American soldier.  It only started when we signed in 2008, in addition to the withdrawal treaty, the Strategic Framework Agreement for the relationship between our two countries.

“And because we have proven success in the first mission, a very unique success — nobody imagined that we would succeed in defeating terrorism and the al Qaeda — we must also establish the necessary steps in order to succeed in our second stage, which is the dual relationship under the Strategic Framework Agreement, in the economic sphere, as well as in educational and commercial and cultural and judicial and security cooperation fields.

“Iraq now has become — reliant completely on its own security apparatus and internal security as a result of the expertise that it gained during the confrontations and the training and the equipping.  But it remains in need of cooperation with the United States of America in security issues and information and combating terrorism, and in the area of training and the area of equipping, which is needed by the Iraqi army.  And we have started that.  And we want to complete the process of equipping the Iraqi army in order to protect our sovereignty, and does not violate the rights of anybody — or do not take any missions that sovereignty of others.

“Today, the joint mission is to establish the mechanisms and the commitments that will expedite our — we have reached an agreement, and we have held a meeting for the higher joint committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Biden, the Vice President, and myself in Baghdad, and we spoke about all the details that would put the framework agreement into implementation.

“And here we talked about it and its activation.  And there will be other discussions and other meetings with the higher committee here in Washington in order to put the final touches regarding the necessary mechanisms for cooperation and achieving the common vision that we followed, which was based on our common wills and political independent decision, and the desire to respect the sovereignty of each other.

“And we feel that we need political cooperation as well, in addition to cooperating in the security and economic and commercial fields.  We need a political cooperation, particularly with regard to the matters that are common and are of concern for us as two parties that want to cooperate.

“The common vision that we used as a point of departure we have confirmed today.  And I am very happy, every time we meet with the American side, I find determination and a strong will to activate the Strategic Framework Agreement.  And I will say, frankly, this is necessary and it serves the interests of Iraq, as it is necessary and serves the interests of the United States of America.

“This makes us feel that we will succeed with the same commitment, common commitment that we had in combating terrorism and accomplishing the missions, the basis of which Iraq was independent.  Iraq today has a lot of wealth and it needs experience and expertise, and American and foreign expertise to help Iraq exploiting its own wealth in an ideal way.  Iraq is still suffering from a shortage of resources, and we have established a strategy to increase the Iraqi wealth.  And we hope that the American companies will have the largest role in increasing our wealth in the area of oil and other aspects as well.

“Iraq wants to rebuild all these sectors that were harmed because of the war and because of the adventurous policies that were used by the former regime, and we need a wide range of reform in the area of education.

“We have succeeded in signing several agreements through the educational initiative, which put hundreds of our college graduates to continue their graduate studies and specialized subject in American universities.  And I am putting it before everyone who is watching the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq.  It is a very — it has very high aspirations.

“And I would like to renew my thanks for His Excellency the President for giving me this opportunity, and I wish him more success, God willing.  Thank you very much.”


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