In advance of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s crucial visit to the United States to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on July 22, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met with the Secretary General and ambassadors of permanent member states of the UN Security Council. He concluded that there was a genuine willingness to see Iraq released from the burden of the penalties imposed on it almost two decades ago under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
A press release issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Ban Ki-Moon as saying that he understood Iraq’s request to extricate itself from the strictures of Chapter VII and to return to its normal place in the international community. He added that a report on the issue would clarify the obligations that Iraq had already fulfilled, what remains to be done and how outstanding issues might be handled.
Sami Al-Askari, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, believes that Ban Ki-Moon’s report will be positive.
According to Al-Askari, Al-Maliki is visiting the U.S. in response to an official invitation from President Obama. He is expected to brief Obama on interference by certain regional states and to ask for assistance in ending the meddling in Iraqi internal affairs. The Security Accord stipulates that Washington will support the elected government and protect Iraq and its democracy from all dangers. Al-Askari voiced his opinion that external interference is one such danger.
He added that Al-Maliki will meet with U.S. business leaders to explore investment opportunities and to encourage them to invest in Iraq.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Strategic Framework Agreement would be on the agenda during Al-Maliki’s Washington visit.
In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, she said that the Strategic Framework Agreement represented the basis for future cooperation with Iraq and with the Iraqi people. “I intend to discuss it and its implementation,” she said.
Al-Maliki has already accused an unnamed regional power of spending billions of dollars to influence the Iraqi electorate and to buy votes in the parliamentary elections scheduled for early next year.
Sources: Iraq4allnews.com / Al-Hayat/ Foreign Ministry press release/ Al-Shorfa correspondent