September 6th, 2007 01:51 EST
U.S. officials give Iraqi progress update
BAGHDAD — U.S. and Iraqi officials held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center, Sunday.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq, and Dr. Tasheen Sheikhly, Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon civilian spokesman, provided information on Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon as well as an update on Multi-National Force-Iraq operations.
Fox gave his update on the current state of Iraq and plans for the future.
“We are now into the twelfth week of the surge of operations and have made substantial progress,” Fox said. “But we do know there is still much more to do. It’s a tough fight and it’s a long fight.”
Fox spoke about recent developments with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadir.
“A welcomed development is the recent declaration by Muqtada al-Sadir calling for all members of Jaish al-Mahdi to end their violence,” Fox said.
“The Multi-National Force-Iraq joins the government of Iraq in welcoming Sadir’s publicly articulated commitment to peace. If implemented, Sadir’s order holds the prospect of allowing Iraqi security and Coalition forces to intensify their focus on al-Qaeda of Iraq,” Fox added. “We call in all parties and all elements to support and enforce this new initiative.”
Sheikhly addressed Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon, a civilian and military operation taking place in Baghdad.
“It’s a great pleasure for me today to talk about the progress in Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon and particularly in the services it provides,” Sheikhly said. “The Baghdad municipality provided and worked on several projects in renovating Baghdad in contact and form like paving roads and making amusement parks for the children, also contributing with the provisional council in Baghdad and rehabilitating several schools.”
“Also, we reopened some clinics in several places in Baghdad and several doctors volunteered to provide health services for the people particularly in areas that they used to be called hot zones, but now they’re actually called safe zones,” Sheikhly said.
Sheikhly also mentioned projects where homes are being constructed for families that have been displaced over the course of operations.
“The reduction of violence in Baghdad is an indication that the operation accomplished a good thing, but the most important thing of the operation is that the cooperation of the citizen with the military forces, whether police, Army, or the Multi-National forces in fighting terrorism to end all violence and to unite the country at the same time,” he said.
(Story by U.S. Army Spc. John Frenette, Combined Press Information Center)