American Vice President-elect Joe Biden recently met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad. Biden confirmed his country’s commitment to the Iraqi government and the implementation of the Iraqi constitution. At the same time, he discussed the security agreement for the withdrawal of American forces and the strategic framework agreement, as well as the steps required for their successful implementation.
A presidential statement, of which Mawtani received a copy, confirmed that Biden arrived in Baghdad on the afternoon of Monday, January 12, 2009. He was accompanied by a number of a number of members of the United States Senate, most notably Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Upon its arrival, the American delegation met with President Jalal Al-Talabani, who reiterated the Iraqi government’s gratitude for the American effort to liberate Iraq from dictatorship. Talabani stressed that, “The security agreement for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq is critical for the development of Iraqi-American relations and reflects the current political conditions in Iraq.” He also noted that the agreement will expand upon the current state of Iraqi-American cooperation on numerous fronts.
President Talabani briefed Biden on recent political developments and his government’s efforts to support parliamentary pluralist democracy and the unified system of governance in Iraq. He confirmed that Iraqis are currently immersed in the reconstruction of a democratic state capable of developing into a model of representative government. Talabani indicated that Iraq enjoys peaceful relations with neighboring countries, as well as the international community.
For his part, Biden delivered the regards of American President Elect Barack Obama to President Talabani and stressed that the new American administration is supportive of the Iraqi government.
A subsequent presidential statement, of which Mawtani received a copy, specified that Vice President Adil Abd Al-Mahdi discussed with Biden strategies to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and mechanisms to implement the security agreement and the recently-signed strategic framework agreement.
For his part, Senator Biden confirmed to Abd Al-Mahdi his country’s commitment to Iraq. Meanwhile, he stressed the importance of constitutionalism, as Iraq marches towards stability.
In addition, Biden renewed the support of the newly-elected American administration for the Iraqi government and the political process in Iraq. These remarks were delivered in a separate meeting with Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki on the second day of Biden’s visit to Baghdad.
During his meeting with Al-Maliki, Biden praised the Iraqi government’s achievements on the security, political, economic, and legislative fronts. He stressed the United States’ support for the political process and the recovery of Iraqi sovereignty.
Biden underscored the importance of ongoing cooperation and bilateral coordination in the implementation of the security agreement for the withdrawal of American forces. The agreement was approved by the Iraqi Council of Representatives in late 2008.
Later, Al-Maliki stressed the importance of the exchange of viewpoints between the two governments in order to bolster relations between Baghdad and Washington. He also expressed his government’s interest in increasing collaborative projects between the two projects in all sectors, as Iraq moves forward towards self-reliance.
Al-Maliki added, “We registered many achievements in 2008, including capacity-building within the armed forces, imposing the law, and defeating terrorists and outlaws in Iraq. Our army will be better prepared in 2009 to meet its responsibilities and reduce its reliance on American assistance.”
Al-Maliki also noted that Iraq has made significant advances as regards the national accord, institutional-building, and the empowerment of political parties and civil society organizations.
The prime minister indicated that Iraq’s unity had once been threatened by sectarian war and terrorists and outlaws who infiltrated security agencies. He confirmed that the country has undergone significant changes to counter the effects of these threats and expressed his confidence in Iraq’s recovery and resumption of its legitimate international role.
The visit of Vice President-elect Joe Biden, who headed the Foreign Affairs Committee in the United States Senate for many years, represents his last stop of a tour of Southwest Asia. In addition to Iraq, Biden visited Kuwait, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.