Remarks With Iraqi President Fuad Masum Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Presidential Guest House
Baghdad, Iraq
September 10, 2014

PRESIDENT MASUM: (Via interpreter) Well, Mr. Secretary, I’m very delighted that you could stay in Iraq today. We’re very determined that the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq always stays at a (inaudible) level, and always stays positive, especially given the strategic agreement between our two countries. Always, whenever we face a problem, we’ll be very open as well with the U.S., and we will count on the U.S. to do its part to (inaudible) this process.

The timing of this visit is very crucial. You come at a time (inaudible) when we are facing a criminal terrorist threat. And second of all, you come also one day after the formation of this new government, which we consider to be a very great – a very good step. The Secretary has met with several parties here, and I believe that that has also been positive, especially also given the subsequent meetings that will be taking place in Paris and New York later this week.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. President, thank you very much. It’s a great pleasure for me to be here, and I congratulate you on the assumption of your new responsibilities. And I thank you for the breadth of the welcome I’ve had today and the constructive meetings we’ve been able to have already.

President Obama will address the American people tonight and the world to lay out to them his plans and his strategy for how together, with many other countries involved in a large coalition, we will take on the challenge of ISIL.

As the President made clear, there was no way that this strategy could be implemented without the government formation taking place. And so I want to thank you, because I know you’ve personally made courageous and important decisions to move that process along.

I think many people, Mr. President, who made great sacrifices here in Iraq through the years to help Iraq have an opportunity to define its own government will be very gratified by what you’ve achieved, and we look forward to working with you in Paris, New York, here over the years to come to fulfill the full promise of a national reform program and the agenda that you and the Prime Minister (inaudible). Thank you.