August 19, 2020

Menendez, Risch Letter to Iraqi PM Expresses Support for Continued Partnership

WASHINGTON – Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to Prime Minister al-Kadhimi of Iraq ahead of his official visit to the United States later this week. The senators express their continued support for a robust partnership between the U.S. and Iraq, and their desire to deepen that relationship for the benefit of both U.S. and Iraqi security and prosperity.

“We write to welcome you to the United States in advance of your visit and to express our support for continuing the robust partnership between our two countries,” wrote the members. “We share your desire to see Iraq secure in its own sovereignty and free of unwanted foreign interference. We recognize that our two countries have a shared history, and we trust that the ongoing U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue will lay the groundwork for both an enduring U.S.-Iraq relationship and a more secure, prosperous and sovereign Iraq that can benefit all Iraqis.

“We have greatly appreciated your commitment to U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation and recognize that our cooperation will always be at the request and with the consent of the Iraqi government. Our mutual security cooperation shattered the Islamic State’s physical caliphate, increased the professionalism and capability of the Iraqi security forces, and has set conditions for Iraqi forces to lead operations with diminishing levels of U.S. military support,” the members continued. “Most importantly, our cooperation continues to reinforce the primacy of the Iraqi security forces as the true guarantors of Iraq’s sovereignty, not other independent armed groups. 

“We recognize that the road ahead is not an easy one.  From national and local reconciliation efforts, to the last scattered remnants of ISIS, to the fall of oil prices, to the current spread of COVID-19, we are well aware of, and sympathetic to, the challenges your government faces along with ordinary Iraqis of every sect and ethnicity.  Yet we also believe that there is bipartisan support in Congress for a deeper partnership with Iraq that benefits both U.S. and Iraqi security and prosperity while continuing to respect Iraqi sovereignty,” they concluded.

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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