Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout:
“Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter traveled to Iraq on Oct. 18 to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and acting Minister of Defense Saadoun Dlimi. This was one of many trips Dr. Carter has made to the region in an official capacity and his first trip to Iraq as Deputy Secretary.
“The visit stressed the importance of the United States defense and security relationship with Iraq and reiterated the U.S. commitment to that relationship. Deputy Secretary Carter thanked Prime Minister Maliki and acting Defense Minister Dlimi for their continued partnership and discussed ways to broaden and strengthen U.S.-Iraq strategic cooperation given the challenges of the region.
“Deputy Secretary Carter stressed the important role that Iraq has in regional stability. He further stressed U.S.-Iraqi cooperation on matters of mutual strategic interest continue to be more vital than ever.
“These high level meetings are part of a series of senior U.S. official visits to Iraq focusing on deepening relations between the two governments and the continued successful implementation of the Strategic Framework Agreement.”