Readout of Special Presidential Envoy McGurk's Trip to France, Iraq, and Italy
On October 20, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk joined Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken to represent the United States at a ministerial meeting hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss post-Daesh stabilization and humanitarian relief for those affected by the ongoing operation to liberate Mosul. This important meeting provided an opportunity for Coalition members to reaffirm support for the Government of Iraq in the fight against Daesh and to outline commitments to assist Iraq once Mosul is liberated.
From October 21-27, Special Presidential Envoy McGurk visited Erbil and Baghdad, Iraq for a series of meetings with senior Iraqi government and security officials, Iraqi leaders across the political spectrum, and international groups that are leading the humanitarian and stabilization efforts as part of the Mosul operation.
In Erbil, Mr. McGurk met with senior officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government, including Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, where he praised the unprecedented cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga in liberating numerous villages since the operation began, and discussed the way ahead for post-Daesh planning in Mosul. He also visited wounded members of the Peshmerga and Iraqi Security Forces recovering together in the same hospital. Mr. McGurk sent condolences on behalf of the United States for all the victims of Daesh, as well as members of the security forces killed in action, and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded, many of whom told Mr. McGurk that they were eager to return to the front line.
Also in Erbil, Special Envoy McGurk met with Ninewa Governor Nawfal Agoob in a meeting that focused on the humanitarian and stabilization aspects of the campaign, especially returning life back to the streets of Mosul once that city is liberated. He emphasized that the Coalition will support the Governor and Ninewa’s Provincial Council as they work together, in an inclusive manner, to stabilize and rebuild Ninewa going forward.
From October 25 in Baghdad, Mr. McGurk met with senior Iraqi political and security leaders including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Chief of Defense General Othman al-Ghanimi, and Speaker of Parliament Saleem Jabouri. In his meeting with Prime Minister al-Abadi, Mr. McGurk thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership in coordinating all aspects of the Mosul campaign. He also commended the Iraqi Security Forces for the progress achieved thus far, and emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum against Daesh, not only in the prosecution of the military campaign, but also by ensuring that humanitarian and stabilization aspects of the campaign are implemented effectively. He noted the lessons learned from Tikrit, Ramadi, and now Fallujah, where local residents are returning to their homes after local police and security institutions are in place.
Mr. McGurk also met with the UN’s Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis, and Deputy Special Representative, Lise Grande, to further discuss the humanitarian and stabilization aspects of the campaign. Mr. McGurk expressed appreciation for the extensive work the UN has done in coordination with the Counter ISIL Global Coalition, the Government of Iraq, and local authorities to prepare for internally displaced persons from the Mosul campaign and for ensuring that equipment and supplies are prepositioned to return electricity and water to the city as soon as possible following liberation. He noted his call on the Global Coalition to continue supporting these vital initiatives, which are essential to ensuring the defeat of Daesh in Iraq is permanent and lasting.
On October 27-28, Special Presidential Envoy McGurk visited Rome, Italy where he participated in the Seminar of the Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM) of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and presented an update on the Coalition’s efforts to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria as well as efforts to dismantle its foreign fighter and external operations networks. Mr. McGurk also held bilateral meetings with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni and Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti where he expressed appreciation for the extraordinary contributions Italy has made to the Coalition and discussed how they can further strengthen cooperation to accelerate Daesh’s demise.
In every location, Mr. McGurk emphasized that there is still much work to be done to defeat Daesh and stressed the importance of strong coordination on the military, political, and economic campaign plan that is in place. He reiterated that the United States and the Coalition will provide continued support to the Iraqi and Syrian people as we work to defeat our common enemy of Daesh, and as they rebuild their communities once they are liberated.