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Immediate Release

Remarks by Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Prime Minister al-Abadi in Baghdad, Iraq

July 23, 2015

Presenters:  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi

            IRAQI PRIME MINISTER HAIDER AL-ABADI:  (Speaking in Arabic.

            SEC. CARTER:  Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

            It's very good to see you again here in Baghdad. 

            I appreciate the opportunity to be with you and your minister of defense and your commanders here.

            And the United States is obviously strongly supportive of the government of Iraq in trying to win back its sovereignty and peace within this territory.  That objective in Iraq is an important part of our strategy towards the Middle East, and while the Middle East is only one part of the world, we are obviously engaged around the world. 

            The Middle East is very important to American interests.  Therefore, we are strongly supportive of your efforts at inclusive governance here in Baghdad because we know that we must defeat DAESH. 

            We will defeat DAESH because the civilization always wins over barbarians.  But to defeat DAESH, we need capable ground forces that we can enable and support, and we will. 

            And getting those forces in turn requires inclusive governance.  I -- we in the United States have been not only supportive of but admiring of your efforts in that regard, and thank you.

            And also, I wanted to commend a number of the parts of the Iraqi Security Forces that I got to meet with this morning.  For example, I met with the CTS, which is one of the most successful on the battlefield in terms of both capability and motivation and continuing to build the Iraqi Security Forces combine capability and motivation on the ground with our support, including from the air, that's the combination that will win back all of Iraq to peace and sovereignty.

            So, we look forward to working with you to support the project.  Appreciate your own leadership and the leadership of your leaders in the ministry of defense and the military here, and we in the United States and President Obama in particular and especially is admiring of what you're doing here, supportive of your efforts to accomplish it, and we will make sure that we keep the political and the military efforts coordinated, aligned, and moving at the same pace that is at a fast pace.

            And the F-16 delivery is just one example -- (inaudible) -- of our relationship.

            STAFF:  Thank you.