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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  It’s a particular pleasure to have Foreign Minister Hussein, my friend of many years, colleague of many years here at the State Department, with his delegation for the Strategic Dialogue with the United States and Iraq.

We are, of course, the closest of partners in the fight against ISIS, and we can take tremendous pride in the work we’ve done together to defeat ISIS and to make sure that it stays defeated.  But I think what today is demonstrating is that the partnership between the United States and Iraq is much broader and deeper than even the common fight against ISIS.

The United States is proud to be partnered with Iraq in meeting some of the most important challenges of our time, whether it’s the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with climate change and making investments in renewable energy.  Whether it is as the leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Iraq, and building opportunity for Iraqis, this partnership has tremendous breadth as well as tremendous depth.

And, of course, the United States is proud to be leading international efforts to support Iraq’s elections in October, free and fair elections, so that the Iraqi people can have their voices heard and choose their leaders.

Most of all, we are proceeding together in partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interests, and the work we’re doing today is going to carry that forward.

So, Fuad, welcome.  It’s wonderful to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN:  Thank you very much.

(Via interpreter) Thank you very much.  Thank you very much, my dear friend Tony, Tony Blinken, Secretary of State.  In fact, this relationship, this partnership goes back a long way to the joint work against ISIS, and building the political (inaudible) and – for Iraq.

Our presence here in Washington is to conduct the dialogue and the discussions with the United States under the leadership of the U.S. delegation under the honorable Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and I thank him for this invitation, and we hope that the outcome of this dialogue is to serve the interests of the two countries and the two people.

And the foundations of this dialogue are the basic principles that were mentioned: joint operation, mutual respect, and cooperation in various fields – military and security, economic, trade, also energy and all its different fields like clean energy, gas, fuel, electricity, as well as the health field and countering the pandemic – COVID-19 pandemic, and the work and cooperation on the field of education.

And with the efforts and operation of the Iraqi forces, of all its branches, the support of the Iraqi people and the cooperation of the international coalition, we were able to defeat the so-called Islamic State – that is, ISIS – and to eradicate it from its presence in Iraq.

However, ISIS the terrorist organization remains as a terrorist organization and as a military organization that depends on particular ideology.

There’s still terrorist activities for ISIS in Iraq.  A few days ago, there was a suicide operation in Sadr City that resulted in the martyrdom of tens of – number of the citizens as well as a larger number of injuries amongst the citizens.  So, these ISIS activities continue, are still present, and they represent a danger to the Iraqi society, to the regional society, and to the international society.

And because the terrorist organization ISIS is a local and active organization inside Iraq, but also a regional and international organization that depends on an international ideology, that requires international work and international cooperation.

And so, we need the cooperation with the international coalition and to work with the international coalition, under the leadership of the United States against ISIS, and to exchange information with the international coalition, the United States, and with Iraq to defeat Daesh.

Our relationships with the United States are not just military relationships, but they are vast and broad relationships. And in the future, we will have a much broader cooperation in all the fields that were mentioned, the strategic dialogues that depend and relies on pushing forward these efforts to improve the lives of people and to improve the future of Iraq.  And we thank the United States for helping and supporting Iraq in the Security Council to get a unanimous position to support Iraq, and send monitors to monitor the electoral efforts, which are very important for the future of Iraq, and future of the people of Iraq, and democracy in Iraq.

At the end, again, I reiterate my thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Secretary Tony Blinken, for receiving us.  And we anticipate to have deep discussions that will bring us to fruitful results for the good interest of the two countries.



SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Shukran.  Thank you.


U.S. Department of State

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