U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently traveled to Iraq with an important message: The United States stands by its “full and continuing commitment to Iraq and the Iraqi people.”
The U.S., said Secretary Clinton, “is committed to seeing an Iraq that is sovereign, and self-reliant, and fully integrated into the region.”
Violence in Iraq has been on the up-tick since March. Shortly before Secretary Clinton’s arrival in Baghdad, 4 suicide bombings killed more than 160 Iraqis.
“I condemn these violent recent efforts to disrupt the progress that Iraq is making,” said Secretary Clinton. “My heart and America’s sympathy,” she said, “go out to the people who have died and the families who have suffered. This violence has only reinforced the Iraqi people’s determination to seek a better future for their country. Their response and the response of Iraq’s leaders have been united and firm.”
The way to deal with the violence, said Secretary Clinton, is for the U.S. to continue to help train and equip Iraqi security forces. Eventually these forces will be capable of taking the lead in safeguarding Iraq from sectarian violence.
The end of the United States’ combat presence in Iraq by 2011 will mark the beginning of a new phase in U.S.-Iraqi relations. As the U.S. draws down militarily, civilian cooperation will increase in accordance with the strategic framework agreement signed in December 2008. The U.S. will work on development and diplomatic initiatives and a regional agenda that includes border security and refugees.
The Iraqi people, said Secretary of State Clinton, “have withstood challenges of the most vicious and violent sort from those who would have torn their society apart, and Iraqis from everywhere have made tremendous sacrifices. The United States has also shared in those sacrifices. But we are proud of the progress that the Iraqi people have made,” said Secretary Clinton.
And the United States stands with the people of Iraq as they build a future worthy of all of the children of Iraq.