09 May 2007
World Community Expects Unity from Iraqi Government, U.S. Says
State's Satterfield says $30 billion in aid for Iraq pledged at conferences
Washington -- Two recent international conferences in Egypt resulted in pledges of more than $30 billion in assistance to Iraq, as well as strong support for the success of the embattled Iraqi government, a senior U.S. diplomat says.
However, in return, the world community increasingly expects Iraq’s government to cooperate on a nationwide level and promote the interests of the entire country, not just narrow partisan or sectarian constituents.
“Iraqis are demanding, and the world is demanding, an Iraqi government and Iraqi political leadership that act on a national basis, a government that displays ... political will,” the State Department’s David Satterfield told reporters in Washington May 8.
Iraqi leaders soon must pass laws aimed at reconciling the country after more than four years of sectarian violence, Satterfield said. But in addition to crafting laws, the Iraqi government needs “to be infused with a genuine spirit and will on the part of all of the political leaders of Iraq,” he said. Satterfield is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s senior adviser and coordinator for Iraq.
Satterfield also said those involved in the Sunni insurgency against the Iraqi government are undermining their own goals for the Sunni minority to play a meaningful and respected role in Iraq’s future. “The violence is harming -- killing -- the Sunni community in Iraq and its future,” Satterfield said.
Neighboring Iran has not contributed to stability in Iraq, Satterfield said. But he stressed that Iranians are not linked to the pervasive suicide bombers, who predominantly are Sunni foreigners crossing the border from Syria to attack Shiite communities.
Rice on May 3 and May 4 attended two major regional meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. On May 3, the international community launched the International Compact with Iraq (ICI), which Satterfield said resulted in more than $30 billion in pledges of assistance, including a pledge from Saudi Arabia to forgive 80 percent of Iraq’s debt. On May 4, Rice attended an Expanded Ministerial Conference of the Neighbors of Iraq. (See related article.)
Discussing the ICI meeting, Satterfield said, “Every national statement made at the Compact meeting was positive. That includes Iran and Syria. At the Neighbors meeting, we heard near uniform expressions of support for the Iraqi government.”
Iranian officials repeatedly blamed all of Iraq’s problems on the presence of coalition forces, but “the rest of the neighbors’ statements were quite positive,” Satterfield said. Meetings with Syrian officials were “professional businesslike discussions” that involved matters such as border security, Satterfield said. U.S. officials held only brief discussions with Iran’s deputy foreign minister, he said.
“The focus here is on how best to see meaningful progress toward a peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic, unified Iraq,” Satterfield said.
“We’re interested in seeing a stable Iraq emerge,” he said. “That should be in the interest of all of Iraq’s neighbors.”
Satterfield stressed that the ongoing surge of U.S. and Iraqi forces is intended to provide an atmosphere where the Iraqi government can make progress toward unifying the country. President Bush in January announced he temporarily is increasing U.S. troops by approximately 25,000 as part of a security crackdown in Baghdad and Anbar province. About two-thirds of those extra troops are now in place, and all will be in Iraq by the end of June. U.S. commanders expect to review the surge’s progress in September. (See related article.)
“The security surge ... is only intended to provide space -– time and space for a political reconciliation,” Satterfield said. “Security steps by themselves, military actions by themselves, cannot bring about lasting, genuine security for either Baghdad or Iraq as a whole. We’ve said this many, many times. It’s only political reconciliation by Iraqis, with Iraqis, with the support of neighbors, that’s going to bring about lasting peace. That’s the real objective here.”
For more information on U.S. policies, see Iraq Update.
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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