United States Co-Chairs Iraq Pledging Conference

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 20, 2016
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks at the press availability in support of the Pledging Conference in Support of Iraq at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

On July 20, the leaders of 24 nations convened in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of State to bring increased attention to the ongoing needs in Iraq and the need to support the Iraqi people.

In opening remarks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry underscored the importance of the international community coming together to support Iraq. “There is not a single region in the world today that hasn’t at one time or another in the last 20 years been scarred by conflict,” he said. “And we have learned that periods of sustained violence can leave behind wounds that, if neglected, they simply set the stage for future strife.”

The United States, co-hosted this effort with Canada, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, and Kuwait to raise more than $2 billion to help Iraqis in four priority areas including: direct humanitarian aid to alleviate crisis immediately; demining assistance; immediate help for communities recently freed from Daesh; and expanded stabilization aimed at aiding in Iraq's long-term recovery.

Secretary Kerry emphasized that while the international community has made progress toward helping Iraq respond to the threat posed by Daesh, reclaiming occupied territory, and assisting in caring for survivors, it is important that we continue to recognize the danger Daesh continues to present and the remaining challenges.

Despite progress made and a shift in momentum, Secretary Kerry made clear that the fight against Daesh is not finished. He noted, “Mosul is not yet free. Acts of terrorism remain a constant daily danger…. there are extraordinary dangers in that going back, because refrigerators, closets, beds, rooms have been left with IEDs… Demining, undoing IEDs, beginning to make these communities safe is critical.”

He reiterated that Daesh cannot be defeated by military means alone. “To eliminate Daesh from Iraq permanently, the government in Baghdad has got to be viewed as responsive to the needs of the people in all parts of the country regardless of tribe, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of creed. So an important way to demonstrate that we are making that possible is for citizens displaced from areas that were previously occupied by Daesh to be able to return to their homes safely and to receive the services that they need to be able to build their communities, resume their lives, and pass on to their children a safer place.”

He also stressed that it is in our interest to give tangible support to the Iraqi government as it works to pursue much-needed reforms. Working to build more inclusive institutions and helping instill hope among Iraqi citizens writ large are critical measures, he noted, because ultimately the future of Iraq is going to be determined by the people of Iraq.

Emphasizing all of our global interconnectedness Secretary Kerry noted, “…it’s in our interests to make these urgently required investments because every one of us here knows that what happens in Iraq has an impact on all of our countries. That’s the world we live in today. For better or worse, everything we do in Iraq has the opportunity to help make our security better.”

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