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"Our Bilateral Relationship"

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki brief the press after their sit-down to discuss how the relationship between the United States and Iraq will progress in the coming months and years.


President Obama and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki

President Barack Obama listens to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during their meeting in the Oval Office, Oct. 20, 2009. October 20, 2009. (by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama sat down with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to discuss how the relationship between the United States and Iraq will progress in the coming months and years. In statements after the meeting, the leaders touched on upcoming Parliamentary decisions in Iraq, US troop withdrawals, and  the economy, trade, and commerce:


I am grateful to have the opportunity to see Prime Minister Maliki once again. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the continuing progress that Iraq is making. We have seen in the last several months a consolidation of a commitment to democratic politics inside of Iraq. We are very interested, both of us, in making sure that Iraq has an election law that is completed on time so that elections can take place on time in January. That is consistent with the transition that has been taking place, and I reemphasized my commitment to Prime Minister Maliki that we will have our combat troops out of Iraq by August of next year, and all of our troops out of Iraq by 2011.

But we didn't just talk about military and security issues. What is wonderful about this trip is that it represents a transition in our bilateral relationship so that we are moving now to issues beyond security and we are beginning to talk about economy, trade, commerce. The business and investment conference that's taking place is going to be very well attended. It includes not only Prime Minister Maliki but business leaders from both the United States and Iraq. We've seen over the last several months progress being made on providing clarification about investment laws inside of Iraq. There are obviously enormous opportunities for our countries to do business together.

And so I just want to congratulate Prime Minister Maliki on what I'm confident will be a successful conference and to reemphasize my administration's full support for all the steps that can be taken so that Iraq can not only be a secure place and a democratic country, but also a place where people can do business, people can find work, families can make a living, and children are well educated. And that broader sense of a U.S. relationship with a democratic Iraq is one that I think all of us are confident we can now achieve.