THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
November 1, 2013
Defense and Security: The United States and Iraq are committed to promoting stability in Iraq and the region through an enduring partnership that enhances Iraqi defense capabilities, modernizes its forces, and supports contributions to regional security.
• The United States has delivered more than $14 billion in equipment, services, and training to the Government of Iraq since 2005 through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program for Iraq’s military and security forces. In the last year, the United States delivered six C-130J aircraft and a Rapid Avenger surface-to-air missile battery. Since 2012, the United States has delivered 27 IA-407 helicopters, which provide surveillance and armed reconnaissance capability and support for ground troops engaged in counterterrorism operations, and 12 P-301 patrol boats for the Iraqi Navy, to protect its oil platforms – which control 80 percent of Iraq’s oil exports – and to enforce maritime sovereignty and security in the Gulf.
• At the December 2012 Defense and Security Joint Coordination Committee, Acting Defense Minister al-Dlimi signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Security Cooperation (MOU) with the Department of Defense, and in June 2013 the first U.S.-Iraq Joint Military Committee (JMC) met at the U.S. Central Command Headquarters Tampa, Florida. The JMC was a key step in implementing the 2012 MOU, and addressed issues such as border security, Iraqi military strategy, and engagement of Iraqi Security Forces in regional training exercises.
• In September 2013, the United States donated three aerostat balloons, six communications towers and fourteen cameras to Iraqi Security Forces. The aerostat system enhances Iraq’s counterterrorism proficiency through increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
Education and Culture: The United States and Iraq strongly support a strengthened Iraqi higher education system, the preservation and expression of Iraq’s rich heritage, and expanding educational, cultural, and professional exchanges between our nations.
• During the 2011-2012 academic year, more than 800 Iraqi students attended U.S. universities, an increase of 31 percent over the previous year. To support continued increases, the United States partnered with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to organize the Baghdad University Fair in September 2013, with 30 U.S. universities and 2,000 Iraqi scholarship students participating. With U.S. Government support, the Government of Iraq organized a conference in Washington, D.C. attended by Iraqi higher education officials and more than 100 U.S. university representatives.
• Each year approximately 500 Iraqis participate in U.S. government academic, cultural, and professional exchange programs. Those programs include the Iraq Young Leaders Exchange Program, the Fulbright Student and Scholar Programs, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and English-language teacher training.
Energy: The United States and Iraq are committed to the development of Iraq’s electricity, oil, and gas sectors in an effort to build a strong economy that is capable of meeting the needs of the Iraqi people and bringing greater stability to world markets.
• The United States and Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2013 to cooperate in the areas of oil production and export, natural gas, electricity, and critical energy infrastructure protection. Specific projects are being implemented in these areas.
• Iraq and the United States developed a prioritized Work Plan for Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection in March 2013. The Work Plan prioritizes strategic projects for U.S. and Iraqi collaboration in securing Iraq’s energy infrastructure.
• Through the Department of State-funded Iraqi Energy Reliability, Survivability and Resiliency program, over 90 key engineers and managers in Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity received U.S. training on energy security and safety from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2012 and 2013.
Law Enforcement and Judicial/Human Rights: The United States and Iraq support the continued development of a wide array of rule of law institutions in Iraq’s criminal and civil justice sectors and are collaborating on programs that will help Iraq address corruption, terrorism, trafficking in persons, organized crime, and drug abuse.
• Since 2009, the United States has partnered with the Iraqi government to establish the Judicial Development Institute, a center for continuing legal education for the judges and staff of the Higher Judicial Council (HJC), which manages the judiciary and prosecutors in Iraq. More than 1,700 judges and students have participated in training at the Institute, which offers more than 40 courses in a variety of legal subjects, including judicial investigation techniques, court administration, and judicial security.
• The United States, with assistance from implementing partners including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the UN Development Programme, provided training to over 2,000 Iraqi judges and court personnel and over 15,000 of Iraq’s corrections officers in a number of areas, including the use of forensic evidence and how to investigate and manage corruption cases.
• The United States is working with the HJC to enhance its outreach efforts to educate the Iraqi public on their rights within Iraq’s criminal justice system. We will continue to support the HJC in fulfilling its top priorities under its strategic plan, including efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi judiciary and improve accountability and oversight mechanisms.
Political and Diplomatic: The United States supports Iraq’s efforts to strengthen ties within the region and its democratic development through the strengthening of its democratic institutions to better respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.
• The United States is funding programs to strengthen Iraqi political institutions, including providing technical assistance and training to the Council of Representatives to promote participation of marginalized populations, including religious and ethnic minorities, in civil society and political life in Iraq. USAID supported a dozen Iraqi organizations to mobilize more than 1,000 domestic elections observers for the 2013 elections.
• With U.S. support, Iraq and Kuwait worked together to end Iraq’s United Nations Chapter VII obligation on the mandate of the High Level Coordinator (HLC) for Missing Persons and Archives and transfer the responsibilities of the HLC to the Chapter VI United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq for continued cooperation.
• U.S. support facilitated Iraq and Kuwait’s successful efforts to resolve the longstanding dispute over damage inflicted on Kuwait’s national aircraft during the Gulf War. In 2013, flights between Baghdad and Kuwait City resumed after a 22-year cessation. In addition, both sides completed maintenance of the border pillars along their shared border.
• The United States continues to support efforts by Iraq and Turkey to increase bilateral ties and efforts by Iraq to constructively engage key neighbors like Jordan on issues of shared concern, including the growing conflict in Syria.
Services, Technology, Environment & Transportation: The United States and Iraq are committed to strengthening Iraq’s infrastructure and essential services delivery to promote economic growth and improve the lives and health of the Iraqi people.
• Iraqi Airways is revitalizing its aircraft fleet and, in part due to U.S. advocacy, signed a contract with Boeing for 41 planes worth $5.4 billion for delivery from 2013-2017.
• The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard continue to work with Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation to bring airports and seaports across Iraq into compliance with international codes and regulations. Initial success in this effort has cleared American commercial carriers to resume operations to airports in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, two cities in northern Iraq, for the first time in decades.
• In partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Health, USAID is working to strengthen Iraq's delivery and quality of primary health care, focusing on improving maternal child health indicators.
Trade & Finance: The United States and Iraq support the development of a prosperous and diversified Iraqi economy that is integrated into the global economic system and also partner on programs to develop Iraq’s economy and the expansion of bilateral trade.
• The Trade & Investment Framework Agreement between the United States and Iraq, which addresses trade issues and improves bilateral economic relations, entered into force in May 2013.
• In part due to U.S. advocacy, U.S. companies like Boeing, Cisco, ExxonMobil, Ford Motors, General Electric, Halliburton, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin all have offices or are represented in Iraq. U.S. exports to Iraq, excluding aircraft, rose 13 percent between the first quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013.
• The Investment Incentive Agreement between the United States and Iraq, a critical element in the architecture of investment relations, entered into force in June 2013.