Minister of Foreign Affairs Confirms that Iraqi Government is Moving Confidently towards Holding the Elections as Scheduled

Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein confirmed on Friday 23 July 2021 that the Iraqi government is moving confidently towards holding the election on the specified date. This was mentioned in the speech he delivered while heading the Iraqi negotiating delegation in the fourth round of strategic dialogue in the American Capital, Washington.  This round is being held in response to the invitation of Secretary of State Antony Blinken to hold the work of the Supreme Committee emanating from the Strategic Framework Agreement for the Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America. This round is a continuation of the strategic dialogue since its first round held in June last year.

Mr. Hussein thanked the attending representatives of the committee from the American and Iraqi sides for efforts they will make in the side sessions of the dialogue.

H.E. pointed out that this round of dialogue is a continuation of the previous three successful rounds, as it provides a clear vision of what characterizes the partnership and alliance relationship between Iraq and the United States, and serious efforts exerted by the governments of the two sides to consolidate it. The first round held through video conference on June 11, 2020. The second round was held in Washington, DC, on August 19 2020, and the third was held on April 7, 2021. In this meeting, we look forward to completing what was agreed upon in the third round of dialogue and moving forward to achieve further progress in all dialogue sessions that will be held by the relevant committees.

He indicated that these sessions represent a serious will for both countries to reach common understandings for cooperation in various sectors, and are a continuation of the agreements that resulted from previous rounds in sectors as (oil and gas, electricity, finance, health, environment, and cultural sectors), in addition to the security and military aspects.

He also called on the representatives of the sessions in various sectors to make more efforts to reach fruitful results that lead to the achievement of the common goals of both countries.

“At the end of last month, we participated in the ministerial meeting of the International Alliance at the joint invitation of the U.S. Secretary of State and Foreign Minister of Italy in the Italian capital, Rome on June 28, and we conducted intensive dialogues with all parties, during which Iraq affirmed its full commitment to ensuring the inevitable defeat of the terrorist organization of ISIS and the permanence of the victory achieved by joint cooperation” .He added.

Pointing out that Iraq appreciates the efforts made by the US government to rehabilitate and train the Iraqi security forces, equip them and provide advice in the intelligence field, in order to reach the required readiness and rely on their own capabilities in a way that enhances Iraq’s sovereignty and security and preserves its gains by defeating the ISIS terrorist organization. Iraq today stresses the importance of continuing the international efforts led by the United States of America through the international coalition, as it constitutes, along with the military efforts, an inevitable victory over the ideology of injustice and hatred that terrorism is trying to spread in societies.

Stressing that our security forces still need the programs offered by the United States of America related to training, arming, equipping, and building capabilities, and we seek to continue bilateral security coordination and cooperation. We also affirm the commitment of the Government of Iraq to protect the personnel of diplomatic missions, their headquarters and facilities, and to ensure security of the Iraqi military bases hosting the international coalition forces.

Pointing out that the Iraqi government and parliament succeeded in protecting national gains to preserve democracy and the legitimate rights of the Iraqi people to live in freedom and dignity, and to achieve demands of the Iraqi people and credibility of the promises made by the Iraqi government, a new electoral law was enacted and a new independent high commission for elections was formed.

He also pointed out that the Iraqi government is moving confidently towards holding the elections on the scheduled date, the tenth of next October, despite challenges, while ensuring safe environment for voters to achieve free and fair parliamentary elections and to restore confidence in the democratic process in Iraq, highlighting efforts made by the international community through the United Nations to monitor the upcoming elections, as the UN Security Council passed its resolution no.2576 in 2021, at an Iraqi request, to extend work of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for the next year and expand its jurisdiction to include monitoring general parliamentary elections.

His Excellency thanked the countries that supported Iraq’s request to strengthen the procedures for monitoring the elections and ensuring their integrity, and efforts of the United States, in particular for its initiatives in this regard.

He added that many memoranda of understanding in various sectors were conducted during the previous rounds of dialogue, which support our endeavors to affirm the common interests between the two sides, stressing Iraq’s progress in strengthening its economic independence and achieving regional and international partnerships in a balanced manner, the latest of which was the Tripartite Summit initiative between the Iraqi government, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, as well as efforts to link Iraq to the regional energy system across the Gulf States.

Mr. Hussein explained that the Iraqi government is completing its efforts to end the injustice that befell our society, which has multiple components of injustice and darkness of terrorism, as the Iraqi Parliament has enacted the Yazidi Survivors Law, and this is a step that has a great impact in supporting the victims of the terrorist organization and ensuring that its members are held accountable for the criminal acts committed against the innocent citizens. In addition to the government’s steps in cooperation with the international partners to promote dialogue and societal peace, renounce violence and extremism, respect religious, sectarian, ethnic and national diversity in Iraq, and reject forms of discrimination between citizens that the Iraqi Constitution guaranteed. In addition to the efforts of the Iraqi government to reach an agreement in “Sinjar Agreement “to maintain security in it, in cooperation between the Federal Security Forces and the Peshmerga forces, as many joint security centers have been established in areas where ISIS terrorist cells are active, as well as the efforts of the Iraqi government, in coordination with international organizations, to ensure voluntary return of the displaced.

Mr. Hussein pointed out that the Iraqi government has pursued a path to support security and stability internally and at the regional level relying on dialogue and taking joint opportunities to achieve this, so we affirm full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty in a manner that guarantees its internal stability and not being drawn into regional conflicts.

With regard to confronting the Corona Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges, and what the world is facing of the new strains that are more harmful to the lives of citizens, which requires integration of cooperation between the ministries of health in both countries to provide requirements for rapid response to reduce the risks of the disease, expressing hope in reaching agreements of support and cooperation in health field during the side session that will be held between the two sides. 

At the end of his speech, the Minister reiterated the Iraqi government’s commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership with the United States of America as a key partner in the international coalition to combat ISIS, and Iraq’s commitment to conclude and strengthen economic partnership, investment and joint action in all sectors, which are included in the Strategic Framework Agreement, with a commitment to respect Sovereignty of Iraq and ensuring full coordination with the Iraqi government.