WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2014 —
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke via telephone with newly appointed Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al Obeidi today to congratulate him on his position and assure support for the minister's counterterrorism pursuits, the Pentagon press secretary reported.
Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel emphasized the importance of rebuilding the Iraqi security forces in a way that engenders trust and confidence among the armed forces personnel and the Iraqi people.
“The minister was quite clear on more than one occasion … that he has every intention of going on the offense against [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and making sure that the Iraqi security forces are properly resourced, trained and equipped to do that,” the admiral said.
Kirby added that the two leaders also discussed ways to prepare Iraqi security forces for upcoming offensives against ISIL, noting that al Obeidi expressed his appreciation for U.S. advisors and airstrikes.
Hagel and al Obeidi promised to continue to work closely together to pursue mutual security objectives, Kirby said, adding that Iraq’s defense minister seeks to ensure that the country’s security forces represent the interests of all its citizens.
“He wants an inclusive army that’s representative of the population of Iraq and defends every inch of Iraq,” the admiral said.
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