Deputy Secretary Burns met today with Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh al-Fayyad at the Department of State to discuss bilateral and regional issues and our shared commitment towards a long-term partnership under the Strategic Framework Agreement. This follows a host of meetings with senior officials within the Department, including Acting Under Secretary Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary Shapiro, and Assistant Secretary Countryman on our security relationship; Assistant Secretary Posner on human rights; Special Envoy Pascual on strategic energy policy; and Ambassador Ford on the situation in Syria. Deputy Secretary Burns noted that the full schedule of meetings NSA Fayyad had in Washington was indicative of the expanding U.S.-Iraq relationship as the two countries continue to strengthen their strategic partnership.
Deputy Secretary Burns offered continued U.S. support as Iraq strengthens its democratic institutions and brings greater stability and prosperity to its people. The two sides also discussed the importance of strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights in Iraq and the impact these issues will have on Iraq's democratic development. On Iraqi political issues, the two discussed the importance of resolving differences through dialogue and compromise and the need for all of Iraq’s political parties to show maximum flexibility to reach consensus on specific, constructive, and implementable measures to address the concerns of the Iraqi people. On Iraqi energy issues, a discussion took place on the role Iraq will play for decades to come as a major oil exporter and how we can work together to help Iraq realize its full potential.
On regional relations, Deputy Secretary Burns welcomed Iraq’s improving relations with Kuwait and Jordan and assured NSA Fayyad that the United States would continue to support Iraq in its effort to strengthen ties with its regional neighbors. The two sides shared a mutual concern about the rise of extremism in Syria and the targeting of innocent civilians. They also discussed the importance of closer consultations on issues pertaining to Syria and the urgent need to initiate a dialogue on ways we can cooperate to hasten a peaceful and democratic transition. Deputy Secretary Burns urged the Government of Iraq to ensure that no arms are transferred through Iraqi airspace or across Iraqi territory into Syria. The U.S. side agreed to send a delegation to Baghdad in the coming weeks to discuss the Syrian situation in greater detail, to include enhanced cooperation on border security.
Deputy Secretary Burns and NSA Fayyad agreed on the importance of continuing to engage on these issues in preparation for the Joint Coordination Committee on Political and Diplomatic Cooperation to be held in Washington later this spring under the auspices of the Strategic Framework Agreement which will focus on areas of mutual interest at the ministerial level.