The State Department released this joint statement by the U.S. and Iraq, at the first meeting of the US - Iraq Defense and Security Cooperation Joint Coordinating Committee on May 24, 2012.
The Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to a strong and long-term security partnership between the two countries at the inaugural meeting of the Defense and Security Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) of the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA), from May 22-24, 2012.
The meetings, held at the U.S. Department of Defense following a meeting between Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Acting Iraqi Minister of Defense Saadoun Al-Dlimi, were co-chaired by the Iraqi Acting Minister of Defense and by the U.S. Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller. Defense and Security is one of the eight areas of cooperation agreed upon by Iraq and the United States under the 2008 SFA to strengthen cooperation in areas of critical interest to both countries. The establishment of the Defense and Security JCC signifies both countries' commitment to strengthen the U.S.-Iraqi strategic partnership and continue coordination and cooperation on these vital issues.
During three days of meetings, discussions were held on a number of items of mutual interest, including future sales of military equipment, joint military exercises, and Iraq's strategy to ensure its future stability and security. In support of an enduring partnership, the United States and the Government of Iraq expanded dialogue on ways of increasing strategic cooperation that would promote stability within Iraq as well as throughout the region. The United States also reaffirmed its commitment to advancing Iraq's stability through the training, equipping, and enhancing the capacity of Iraq's armed forces for defense against external threats and for counterterrorism.
Both sides discussed ongoing and future security assistance. In addition to an initial purchase of 18 F-16 aircraft in September 2011, during the meetings the Government of Iraq reconfirmed its interest in purchasing a second set of 18 F-16s and the United States reconfirmed its commitment to the sale. The F-16s and other military equipment will help protect Iraq's sovereignty, meet legitimate defense needs and symbolize the long-term security partnership envisioned by both countries.
The United States commends the Iraqi Security Forces for their demonstrated capability to protect the Iraqi people and recognizes the continued sacrifice being made to ensure Iraq's security. The Iraqi Security Forces have made great strides in stabilizing the security situation in Iraq and in facilitating Iraq's emergence as a strategic partner that promotes and contributes to regional security.
The United States and the Government of Iraq agreed that the next meeting of the Defense and Security JCC will be hosted by Iraq in Baghdad this fall. The purpose of the second meeting will be to build upon the foundation laid out this week, and continue discussions on strengthening defense and security cooperation as part of the multifaceted relationship developed between the United States and the Government of Iraq.