REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND PRIME MINISTER AL-ABADI OF IRAQ
AFTER BILATERAL MEETING
2:53 P.M. CEST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a pleasure to be with Prime Minister Abadi and his delegation. Obviously, the United States has made an enormous commitment and investment in Iraq, and we’re fortunate to have a reliable partner in Prime Minister Abadi.
The challenges that Iraq face continue to be significant. Obviously, ISIL, or Daesh, has been active in its terrorist activities, particularly in Anbar and some of the western portions of the country. We have seen successes, but we’ve also seen setbacks. In areas like Tikrit, we’ve seen the Iraqi security forces operate very effectively with the international coalition to drive back ISIL. Most recently, in Ramadi, we saw ISIL concentrate its forces to get what I believe will be a short-term tactical gain.
What we do know is that our success is going to be dependent on an effective partnership between the international coalition and the Iraqi government. And that’s why a lot of our discussion today will focus on how we can build on the thousands of Iraqi security forces that we have already trained; how we can coordinate more effectively in getting weapons into the hands of those who are prepared to fight ISIL on a timely basis; how we can ensure that the work that the Prime Minister has done to maintain an inclusive government in Baghdad continues.
And in all of these discussions, what I found is that Prime Minister Abadi is very much committed to effective, inclusive governance. And there’s a refreshing honesty, I think, on the part of the Prime Minister in recognizing that there remains a lot of work to be done. But as long as the international coalition sustains its efforts, and as long as Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi government stay committed to an inclusive approach to gaining back territory from ISIL and then instituting governance that is inclusive and serves the people, I’m absolutely confident that we will succeed.
I just realized I should have provided the translation for that. That was kind of a long sentence. Go ahead.
So the United States is going to continue to ramp up our training and assistance. We are going to continue to provide the supplies that are necessary for Iraqi forces to successfully mount offensive campaigns and not simply defensive campaigns inside of Iraq.
In discussions with the G7 and other coalition partners, they’re absolutely committed to making sure that the Iraqi government can succeed in this process. And I’m confident that although it is going to take time and there will be setbacks and lessons learned, that we are going to be successful, ISIL is going to be drive out of Iraq, and ultimately it is going to be defeated.
PRIME MINISTER ABADI: (As interpreted.) I would like to thank President Obama and the United States, and the G7 countries, and the global coalition against ISIL for standing side by side with Iraq to defeat Daesh.
We are fighting several fights and combats against ISIL. We have won many rounds against ISIL. One round we lost was in Ramadi, but I say that we lost it only temporarily. And the Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization Forces, all under the leadership of the commander-in-chief and the leadership of the Iraqi government, has taken control of the situation and are endeavoring very hard to liberate all the land in Iraq that is confiscated. And we have liberated a space and amount of land in Iraq that is many folds more than what they have in Ramadi.
And very frankly, Iraqis are fighting other land and they are fighting with the international community. And the United States, standing side by side with Iraq — and that is very important because the fight there is one that is a psychological war and a moral war, and we will continue our efforts to defeat ISIL.
Undoubtedly, we will win the war — we will win the war over ISIS that has a bad ideology, an ideology that is attempting at sabotaging archeological sites and killing citizens, and targeting and killing minorities, and causing destruction in Sunni cities. Of course, ISIS is fully (inaudible) on anything that has to do with the Sunnis, because ISIS ideology is a false one. And we shall be victorious.
Thank God, we are working on including all the components of the Iraqi people and we are continuing this effort. And our sons and our populations in Ramadi, those who fled the war scenes, come back to areas that are under the control of the Iraqi government. We welcome them, and we will continue to help them and do everything for them.
And as we fight Daesh in Ramadi, and we endeavor and work hard to expulse Daesh from that region, we sent two brigades to Mosul in order to put the area under — the perimeter of the area under siege and to drive Daesh out of Ninawa.
The problem resides in the foreign fighters, the influx of foreign fighters that goes into Syria and into Iraq, and it creates more of the bloodshed, more of the destruction, and the bloodshed and blood-spilling of the innocents. This is what we discussed today and raised this issue at the G7 today. And this will require the effort and the mobilization of the international community to address.
Just to give an example and an idea — 40 suicide bombers conduct operations and they kill many — and many of them are killed, but these people are from outside and they are coming from outside Iraq.
Also, another thing is that ISIL smuggles oil and tries to generate revenue out of oil smuggling and to generate and funnel money into its terrorist activities. To stop this activity of ISIL, this will require the effort of the international community. We also see that a mobilization is needed by the international community to stop ISIL from recruiting. ISIL recruiting must be stopped, and this can be done by a global intelligence-sharing effort. Iraq cannot do it alone. It doesn’t have the resources. But along with our global partners, we can do it.
We believe that by protecting the Iraqis and our citizens, and with the help of our allies, with the help of the global community, the international community, and the G7, we will be able to defeat ISIL and be victorious in Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.