The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
June 13, 2006
Camp David Meetings: Building on Progress in Iraq
"My message to the Iraqi people is this: seize the moment; seize this opportunity to develop a government of and by and for the people. And I also have a message to the Iraqi people that when America gives a commitment, America will keep its commitment."
The Unity Government In Iraq Is A New Opportunity For Progress. Prime Minister Maliki has laid out his plan to advance his most pressing priorities in Iraq. And the events of last week -- completing the formation of the government and eliminating the terrorist leader Zarqawi -- mark significant progress toward realization of our shared goal of a free and peaceful Iraq that is an ally in the War on Terror.
This Week, The President Called Together His National Security Team And Other Key Members Of His Cabinet At Camp David To Build On That Progress And Ensure That The New Iraqi Government Succeeds.
On Monday At Camp David: General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad provided the President and his National Security team with an assessment of the opportunities and challenges in Iraq. The President and his advisors heard from outside experts with a range of views as to possible approaches to the economic, political, and security challenges that remain. On Monday afternoon, the President and his National Security team, including the Secretaries of State and Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were joined by the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Agriculture, Energy, and Commerce for a discussion of the new Iraqi government's plans to address its most urgent challenges. The group assessed how best to align the efforts of the U.S. government to support the plans of Iraq's new government. Each of these agencies is engaged in helping advance the priorities of the new Iraqi government.
On Tuesday At Camp David: With the President in Baghdad, the group was joined for breakfast Tuesday by Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S., Samir Sumaidaie. Following breakfast and earlier Baghdad meetings between the President and the Iraqi Prime Minister, the two leaders and the Iraqi cabinet met via secure teleconference. The Prime Minister discussed his top priorities for the new government, and he and members of his cabinet briefed the President and the U.S. team on Iraqi plans for improving security, national reconciliation, and economic reform. The President hailed the Prime Minister for the leadership he has shown and for laying out a bold agenda for Iraq. American and Iraqi leaders discussed how the U.S. government could best support the Prime Minister's agenda and together advance security and renewal in Iraq.
The Iraqi Government Has A Plan To Move Iraq Forward
Prime Minister Maliki Is Focused On Taking Immediate Actions In Three Areas:
1. Improve security by both military and political actions; secure Baghdad; eliminate armed gangs; and promote national reconciliation and the rule of law.
2. Immediately build economic and government capacity; increase production of oil and electricity; and build a foundation for prosperity.
3. Engage the nations of the region and the world in Iraq's democratic and economic development.
The President Discussed The New Iraqi Government's Plan In Detail With His National Security Team And Other Cabinet Officials. They assessed ongoing U.S. efforts in each area of the Iraqi plan and directed adjustments to U.S. plans as necessary to fully align with the plans of the new government.
We Continue To Comprehensively Work With The Iraqi Government To Build Security Forces, To Create The Government Institutions Necessary To Provide Essential Services To The People, And To Build The Institutions Of Democracy And Prosperity.
Examples Of Specific Actions The U.S. Government Will Take In The Short Term To Advance The Iraqi Government Plan
On Security And Reconciliation:
Securing Baghdad: The Prime Minister has made the security of Baghdad his top priority. He has briefed the U.S. government on his campaign to crack down on the violence and at the same time promote reconciliation.
Coalition Action: Prime Minister Maliki will soon announce more specifics of his plan to secure Baghdad. The President will provide, through the Commander, MNF-I, 12 battalions (approximately 7,200 troops) of Coalition forces in Baghdad to support 36 battalions of Iraqi Army forces (approximately 26,000) and nearly 23,000 Iraqi police who will work together to secure the city. Their goal will be to deny terrorists safe haven in areas around Baghdad and to deny terrorists freedom of movement in the city.
Securing Ramadi: Terrorists/insurgents have been focusing on destabilizing Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, both to undermine the government in that province and as a transfer point and staging ground for attacks elsewhere.
Coalition Action: Coalition forces are working with the Iraqi Government to stabilize the city by keeping the pressure on terrorists/insurgents while recruiting, training, and fielding Iraqi army units to serve in and around Ramadi. A locally recruited police force is also being built.
Building Confidence In Iraq's Security Forces: Prime Minister Maliki is committed to both increasing public confidence in Iraqi security forces and improving the ability of those forces to take the lead in and eventually responsibility for the security of Iraq.
Coalition Action: The Coalition has embedded Transition Teams in Iraqi Police and Military units to assist in the professionalization of Iraqi Security Forces and to help them achieve Prime Minister Maliki's goals. These teams will also help inculcate ethical and professional standards. The Department of Defense has interagency advisory teams in place, working with the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior to build administrative capacity. Now that Iraq's new Ministers of Defense and Interior are in place, our advisory teams will assist them in building internal affairs bureaus, Inspector General functions, and other capabilities.
Judicial Capacity: Prime Minister Maliki recognizes that a secure and prosperous society requires a functioning and independent judiciary. A society needs courts, prosecutors, investigators, and correctional facilities to enforce the rule of law, deter violence, prosecute wrongdoers, and justly punish the guilty.
Coalition Action: The State, Defense, and Justice Departments have produced a comprehensive rule of law initiative to build on past efforts to strengthen the Iraqi judicial system. The initiative builds on what has already been accomplished in the judicial sector with special emphasis on increasing the number of trained and qualified judges; ensuring those judges have adequate security to do their work; providing technical assistance to the Higher Juridical Council (which oversees the Iraqi judiciary); enhancing prison capacity to meet international standards; completing the training of Iraqi correctional personnel; and integrating the roles of police, courts, and prisons to act under one rule of law. In addition, we will be working with the European Union, the United Nations, and other international partners to provide technical assistance to Iraqi legislators as they work to complete important judiciary laws called for under Iraq's new constitution. These initiatives are being developed in consultation with the Iraqi government and a comprehensive strategic plan will be presented to top Iraqi officials - including the Prime Minister and Iraq's Chief Justice - later this month.
Bringing Armed Groups Under Control Of The Government: The Prime Minister intends to develop a plan to ensure that no entities outside the Iraqi government wield force in Iraq. His strategy will involve enforcing existing laws against illegal armed groups and dedicating additional resources to ensure members of militias have an alternative means of supporting themselves and their families.
Coalition Action: Coalition leaders are working with the new Iraqi government to implement a program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate members of militias and other illegal armed groups. To overcome these armed gangs, Iraqi forces must be better equipped than their adversaries and easily distinguishable from them. Multi-National Forces, working closely with the NATO Training Mission, are providing the training, mentoring, and equipment needed to stand up a professional, volunteer, trained, and equipped Iraqi Security Force capable of taking the lead for internal security and over time the lead for Iraq's entire security. The President directed General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad to coordinate with the new Ministers of Interior and Defense as well as provincial governments to determine what additional steps should be taken to ensure that Iraqi forces have a military edge over those they are fighting.
Reconciliation: Prime Minister Maliki has called on all Iraqis to overcome ethnic and sectarian differences and forge a new path as the free people of Iraq. The President congratulated him on his efforts to unify the Iraqi people, including the release of more than 2,500 detainees. The Prime Minister has said he will appoint a reconciliation committee to focus on resolving specific concerns of Iraq's diverse communities. The United Nations has a team in Baghdad focused on bridging divides and resolving differences between groups peacefully.
Coalition Action: Any reconciliation effort must be Iraqi-led for it to succeed. At the same time, the United States is supporting the efforts of NGOs and other institutions to bring Iraqi leaders together with leaders from other countries, such as South Africa, so that Iraqis can benefit from the experience of others. We are also intensively engaged with countries in the region to urge them to reach out to Iraq's communities to encourage national dialogue, full participation in Iraq's political process, and the renunciation of violence. Finally, we welcome initiatives by other international bodies to provide forums to bring Iraqis together.
On Economic And Government Capacity-Building:
Revitalized Economy: The Prime Minister is committed to a policy of national revitalization. This demands the creation of a new economic framework that rewards innovation and investment and the removal of market distortions that abet smuggling and corruption. Today the President welcomed Prime Minister Maliki's plan to spur growth and create a better investment environment.
Coalition Action: The President has asked the Treasury Department to send additional professionals to Iraq to provide technical support for creation of a public finance system that is accountable and transparent. The State Department will coordinate a broad effort to support an economic policy framework that enhances investment, job creation and growth. The President has also asked Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns to travel to Iraq to meet with his Department's counterparts and determine what additional actions the United States can take to help return Iraq to its former status as a breadbasket for the region.
Oil And Electricity. Insurgents and terrorists have tried to cripple Iraq's economy by crippling its oil industry. Prime Minister Maliki is committed to sustainable oil exports and improving the delivery of electricity.
Coalition Action: The President has directed Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez to travel to Iraq and work with their counterparts to identify what further assistance from the U.S. government is needed to help the Iraqi government increase oil production and electricity generation. General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad will work with Iraq's new ministers to continue the effort to build rapid repair teams and to create new initiatives to protect key infrastructure nodes. We are providing resources and technical expertise to the Oil and Electricity ministries for the development of operation and management practices. We are working with the ministries on steps such as metering and the tagging of trucks to increase transparency and efficiency and reduce corruption in the oil industry. We are encouraging other oil-producing countries, in particular Iraq's neighbors, to provide their technical expertise and know-how to help Iraq sustain and expand oil production and exports. And we are engaged with the Iraqis in refurbishing oil wells in the south to ensure predictable oil exports and increase Iraq's overall capacity.
On Engaging The Nations Of The World In Iraq's Success:
International Compact. The international community has made pledges to support Iraq's fledgling democracy, but many are unfilled. It is time for the international community to meet its obligations. Prime Minister Maliki is asking international organizations to take the lead with his government in developing a compact between the international community and the Iraqi government and people. This compact will bind actions by Iraq to actions by other countries and international institutions, and make Iraq's success a shared objective and commitment. The Prime Minister envisions a compact in which Iraq will undertake a series of political, economic, and security steps in exchange for more robust political and financial support from the international community.
Coalition Action: The President directed his Cabinet to work with the international community to build this compact with Iraq. The President designated Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert Kimmitt to lead these efforts. Deputy Secretary Kimmitt will be supported by State Department Counselor Philip Zelikow and other senior U.S. government officials. They will travel soon to the United Nations and then to Iraq for consultations, and then will travel -- as necessary -- to Europe, Asia and the Middle East to build support for the compact. This effort is expected to culminate in a conference later this year where the Iraqi government can lay out its commitments and engage the financial, technical, and other support of a broad group of nations to continue rebuilding its country.