Readout of the President's Meeting with Ambassador Chris Hill and General Ray Odierno
The President met with Ambassador Chris Hill and General Ray Odierno in the Oval Office to discuss Iraq. The two officials provided an update on the status of Iraqi negotiations to form a new government, the security situation on the ground, and the drawdown of U.S. forces leading up to the end of our combat mission at the end of August.
Following Iraq’s successful democratic election in the spring, the President shared his view that it is time for Iraq’s leaders to exercise their constitutional responsibilities and form a government without delay. The President expressed his regret for the July 22 rocket attack on the international zone, but welcomed General Odierno’s report that security incidents across Iraq remain at the lowest level since the U.S. has kept records. The President also welcomed General Odierno’s report that we are ahead of schedule in executing our planned drawdown to 50,000 troops by the end of August.
The President thanked Ambassador Hill and General Odierno for their extraordinary service to our country. Ambassador Hill and General Odierno are visiting Washington, D.C. to participate in a July 23 CENTCOM-sponsored conference on planning for the U.S. transition from a military to a civilian lead in Iraq. The President affirmed his commitment to transform the partnership between the United States and Iraq. As we reduce the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, we will strengthen cooperation in sectors such as education, rule of law, trade and technology.