The Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq reaffirmed their strategic partnership during a meeting of the Services, Technology, Environment and Transportation (STET) Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) under the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) on September 25, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Iraqi Deputy Minister of Transportation Bangen Rekani and U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs Susan Kurland co-chaired the meeting. The Iraqi delegation to the meeting included eight representatives from the Ministry of Transportation. The U.S. delegation included representatives from the Departments of State, Transportation – including the Federal Aviation Administration – Commerce, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration. This is the first JCC for this sector of the SFA.
The delegations noted the progress made in the transportation sector in Iraq since 2003 and emphasized the importance of continued close cooperation on all modes of transportation. They reviewed U.S. assistance related to the development of Iraq’s aviation, rail and maritime sectors, and explored opportunities for U.S. companies to invest in Iraq’s transportation infrastructure. Participants identified ways to expand cooperation and advance the Government of Iraq’s efforts to strengthen safety, security and economic freedom at Iraq’s seaports and airports.
The United States reaffirmed its commitment to continue to provide advice to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority as it prepares for an audit to be conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2014. The U.S. pledged to support Iraq as it develops capabilities to conduct adequate communication and navigation surveillance; augment security at seaports and airports; further develop and modernize its aviation infrastructure; and improve its ability to conduct investigations of significant accidents in all modes of transportation-aviation, railroad, highway, and marine.
On the margins of the JCC, the Iraqi delegation conducted site visits of major transportation facilities, including the Port of Baltimore, and participated in a roundtable with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss opportunities for economic cooperation. The Iraqi and U.S. delegations noted the successful delivery last month of the first of 30 Boeing 737-800 aircraft to Iraqi Airways at Baghdad International Airport, which will help Iraqi Airways to reconstitute its fleet and allow it to expand its operations. They also discussed ways to facilitate the delivery of the remaining aircraft during the period of 2013-2019.
The Iraqi and U.S. delegations agreed to continue discussions of all issues through working groups and hold the next meeting of the STET JCC in Baghdad, at which time participants would plan to discuss ongoing transportation issues and other issues that are the purview of this JCC, to include science, environmental, and strategic water issues.