April 21st, 2007 06:03 EST
Is commitment to Iraq long term?
BAGHDAD — The United States Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates held a joint press conference with the Iraqi Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir al-Ubaidi about the military situation in Iraq at the Ministry of Defense building Friday.
During the press conference, Secretary Gates stated that Iraq is an important ally and vital partner in the global war on terror, and Fardh Al-Qanoon.
This commitment will be long term, said Gates.
“It is a commitment to work with the Iraqis to ensure their sovereignty, train their legitimate security forces and provide support for security reform and modernization,” said Gates.
Iraqis are making progress in countering the insurgency, said al-Ubaidi
"Our need for support is getting less and less each day," al-Ubaidi said.
In respect to that, Gates expressed hope for the Iraqi Council of Representatives to pass laws on hydrocarbons, ‘de-ba’athification,’ provincial elections and other measures before recessing for the summer.
These measures alone will not fix the problems in Iraq. The combined will of Iraq’s leadership is needed to serve all the different peoples of Iraq, Gates said.
Gates also expressed this commitment with several other governments such as Jordan and Egypt in his tour of the Middle East. He emphasized the importance of supporting the new Iraqi government and reaching out to other Arabic governments to support Iraq.
Gates noted that there will be some tough days to come.
Al-Qaeda has declared war on all of Iraq, he said. The vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices have become a substantial problem, killing innocent men, women and children.
The success of Fardh Al-Qanoon and reconciliation of different sects will be measured in the months to come. This effort, will take time, Gates said.
(U.S. Army story by Spc. Lajaun Hickman, Combined Press Information Center)