Ladies and Gentlemen thank you very much
Thank you, Secretary Kerry, for convening this meeting to discuss how the international community can respond to the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Because it is not Islamic, not a state, and not worthy of a formal name, I will call it simply by its Arabic acronym – DAESH.
I thank you all for attending this meeting and for everything that your countries are doing to support Iraq and its people. And I thank NATO for hosting this event here at your headquarters.
As the attendance at this meeting underscores – some 60 foreign ministers from countries around the globe – the world has woken up to the fact that DAESH threatens not only the nations and peoples of the Middle East and North Africa but everyone, everywhere who refuses to accept its extremist views and barbaric practices.
On behalf of the people of Iraq who have suffered so much for so long, I can tell you that DAESH perpetrates indiscriminate inhumanity. DAESH’s beheadings, mass executions, and enslavement of women and children have been directed against people from every ethnic background and religious confession, regardless of national borders.
For those of you who represent nations in North America and Western Europe, it is well-known that DAESH recruits and trains, among others, battle-hardened western fighters. It is only a matter of time before these highly-trained terrorists will be sent back to the societies from which they came to commit murder and mayhem.
As you are demonstrating by your presence today, defeating DAESH is our common cause. It requires our collective efforts, regionally and globally. I am here today to reaffirm to you that the government and the people of Iraq are committed to doing our part.
We are grateful for the support of the United States and every other member of the coalition. But we know that, on the ground, this is first and foremost our fight. And we understand that, in Iraq, while military action is necessary to defeat DAESH, we also need governmental reform, national reconciliation, and economic and social reconstruction.
Our newly-elected government is undertaking all these tasks – all at once. And our efforts are already beginning to show results.
Following free and fair national elections last April, and with the support of every ethnic, regional, and religious group, I have formed a new government that includes representatives of all Iraqi political and social blocs.
Our government is successfully meeting its pledges for the first three months, and we are also making progress on the programs that we proposed for the first six monthsto fulfill all our commitments to the Iraqi people.
Ahead of the pace from previous years, the Council of Ministers has reviewed the budget and should forward it to parliament for approval very soon.
We are working for national reconciliation on several fronts. We are forging cooperative relationships with the tribes of Salahudeen, Al-Anbar and Ninawa that are based in areas under the control of DAESH. These tribes are being armed and are currently fighting alongside Iraqi security forces.
We are also working on amending the Accountability and Justice Law, which provides for de-baathification, to ease the reintegration of a large number of former government employees who have not committed crimes against the Iraqi people. Our goal is to address the concerns of every segment of society.
This week I have signed a decree requiring our security forces and the Ministry of Justice to safegaurd the constitutional and human rights of detainees inIraqi jails. This includesthe establishment of a central record of all detainees and the legal reason for their arrest including a timescale for their detention and presentation to the courts.
We have reached an interim agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government that will pave the way for a long-lasting agreement on Iraq’s natural resources. This is an important first step in the right direction, and both we and our Iraqi Kurdish brothers are committed to doing more to put the disagreements of the past behind us.
We have begun to rebuild our security forces in a professional manner, having removed about two dozen generals as part of our efforts to root out corruption and re-energize the military leadership. In order to involve more Iraqis in our common defense, we have made progress on the establishment of a National Guard force. And we are working with the United Nations in order to benefit from the experiences of other countries that utilize similar structures so we can ensure the right solution for Iraq.
In order to guarantee respect for the rule of law, we are working to ensure that all armed groups are brought under state control. Where possible, some individuals from these groups willbe integrated into the Iraqi Security Forces or the National Guard. We affirm our constitutional commitment not to allow any armed group or militia to work outside or in parallelto the Iraqi Security Forces. No arms would be permitted outside the control of the Iraqi Govenment.
As DAESH threatens us all, we see the government of the Kurdistan Region as an essential partner in our struggle, and fully support efforts to train and equip the Kurdish forces to ensure that they can work seamlessly with the Iraqi Security Forces. We will continue to ensure that there are no delays or hold ups in this process and there has never been intentional or procedural delays on our part in this matter.
In addition, we are working with the United States and our international partners to train and equip tribal fighters, while incorporating the Popular Mobilization Units into the Iraqi Security Forces.
Now let me be clear: Our security forces are in need of comprehensive training and armament. We will need significant support from our friends and partners in these endeavors, and you may rest assured that your assistance will be put to good use, becausewhen we fight back against DAESH, we are fighting not only for the people of Iraq but for all the peoples of the world.
With support from the Coalition and with closer coordination with the Kurdish Peshmerga and every segment of our society, the Iraqi Security Forces and their partners are pushing forward. Together, we have recaptured strategic roads and other locations and liberated entire towns.
We have made this solemn promise to all our people: We will move ahead in our fight to free every inch of our territory and every segment of our citizenry. We will expel the DAESH gangs from our precious land. And we will bring life back to the liberated cities.
On the diplomatic front, we are strengthening our relations with all our neighbors, so that, together, we can more effectively combat our common enemy – DAESH.
In recent weeks, we have established very warm and functioning high level contacts with all our neighbors:Prime Minister and Emir of Kuwait, President Rouhani of Iran, King Abdullah and the Prime Minister of Jordan in Amman, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Baghdad.
We reachedagreements on strengthening our security and intelligence cooperation to defeat DAESH, as well as deepening our relations in economics, oil, investment, trade, and border control.
Working with these countries and other neighbors, we are developing a common defense against DAESH and a new strategy to address the regional problems that give rise to transnational terrorism.
From reforming our government to reconciling our society, resisting DAESH, and restoring our relationships with our neighbors, Iraq is making every effort to protect its democratic gains.
But the challenges that we face are greater than any nation can address alone. We are combating one of the best-funded, best-organized, and best-equipped transnational terrorist organizations on the face of the Earth. So my message to all of you is: We are doing our part – and we need your help.
On the military front, we need air support, training, armament and capacity-building for Iraq’s security forces. We also need our neighbors and allies to support our struggle to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. For your sake as well as ours, Iraq must not become the training-ground for terrorists who come from, and will return to, every trouble-spot on Earth.
DAESH receives not only its fighters but also its funding from all across the world. We need the international community, including its financial institutions, to freeze the funding of DAESH and call a halt to the free movement of money and munitions to these transnational terrorists.
Violent extremism is inspired by vicious ideologies. We need our neighbors in the Middle East and North Africa to counter the ideological underpinnings of DAESH.
And we need the world community to help us address the humanitarian crisis that DAESH has caused, so that the refugees from terrorism do not themselves become recruits for yet another round of violent extremism.
The terrorism of DAESH and the civil war in Syria have displaced nearly two million people who are now within our borders. We are in need of humanitarian aid to meet their needs, particularly with winter approaching.
Meanwhile, the areas that we have liberated and those that we will liberate from DAESH need to be rebuilt quickly. In order to encourage the residents to return to their homes, to create jobs, and to tackle some of the causes of the rise of DAESH, we need to establish a reconstruction fund.
Unfortunately, Iraq is in short supply of funds because our oil revenues have declined, due to the fall in oil prices and the end of exports from the North since DAESH took over Mosul. We have dedicated sizeable funds from our budget to these refugees and The United Nations has also carried some of the burden of the humanitarian work. But we need the entire international community’s help to house and heal the wounds of the victims of this violence.
Only by rebuilding a secure and stable Iraq in a secure and stable Middle East can we defeat the transnational terrorists who draw upon discontent and feed on failure. Just as DAESH is our common enemy, defeating DAESH must be our common endeavor.
In this great struggle, the government and people of Iraq are doing everything that we can. And, from your presence and participation here today, I am encouraged that you will, too.
Today, we will exchange ideas. Tomorrow and for as long as it takes, we must translate our words into actions.
The decisions included a call for an international commitment to support Iraq and the efforts of the new Iraqi government.