Remarks With Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Foreign Minister's Villa
Baghdad, Iraq
April 8, 2016

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-JAAFARI: (Via interpreter) You visited the library, I think, Mr. Secretary, the last time.

SECRETARY KERRY: Been here before. I visited your library, yes.


SECRETARY KERRY: I remember that.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-JAAFARI: (Via interpreter) And that caused me a problem with Vice President Biden. (Laughter.) And he said that you – “I visited you in 2005 and you didn’t show me that library, that – you showed it to others.” Because John McCain, when he came here, right away, I showed him the library.

SECRETARY KERRY: Showed him the library, good.

INTERPRETER: Are we fine?

SECRETARY KERRY: (Laughter.) Did you give him a book? He gave me a book the first time.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-JAAFARI: (Via interpreter) I will give you more than a book. (Laughter.) In English – in English, you are – I know that you are a good reader and read a lot.

Before – I did not know you before, of course, as an intellectual. During the presidential – your presidential candidacy at that time, I did not know you very well. But now, as I know you as the Secretary of State, I know how intellectual you are.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you. I have to hide that with our – no, I’m joking. (Laughter.)


SECRETARY KERRY: No, it doesn’t matter. It’s not important. (Laughter.)

But Mr. Minister, I’m happy to visit with you again. This is obviously a very critical time here in Iraq and in the region, and you and I have been working on a lot of different issues for the last few years. So it’s good of you to come and be able to visit.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-JAAFARI: (Via interpreter) I receive you here in my house a second time. And I have to appreciate your efforts in that (inaudible) because I know you as the Secretary of State and you are definitely energetic. And of course, that (inaudible) conferences that I met you in. I met you in conferences in New York, Paris, and Jeddah. And I’m sure that you are aware of the recent development in the political process here (inaudible).

(Audio ends.)