KTFA (Don961 & Samson)

  In KTFA 

Samson:  Washington: Al-Kazemi Agrees To Extend His Visit

20th August, 2020

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi approved a request from leaders and members of the US Congress to extend his visit to the United States because of their desire to meet him.

And government media reported that “Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi’s council agreed to postpone the return date to Baghdad, which was scheduled for Thursday evening.”

She added that “the extension was requested by congressional officials for the desire of members and leaders in it to meet Al-Kazemi, as well as a number of economic, research and political centers.”

She indicated that “the new meetings may include a meeting with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.”

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi received at his residence in Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and discussed ways to develop relations between Iraq and the United States at various levels and fields.   LINK

JJimmyJJ:  Check out Pres. Trump’s twitter account. He just tweeted out a sort video showing PM Kazimi’s arrival at the White House.  Pretty clear he wanted it to be known that Iraq and the PM are in the US’s and Trump’s good graces, IMO.

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Samson:  Trump affirms his commitment to withdraw the international coalition: Al-Kazemi is a man who gets along very well with him

20th August, 2020
US President Donald Trump confirmed, on Thursday, his commitment to a “rapid exit” of the international coalition forces from Iraq, indicating that he is in harmony with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi “very”.

The official Iraqi News Agency, INA, stated that “Al-Kazemi succeeded in leading the strategic dialogue to obtain an American withdrawal from Iraq,” explaining that “the Iraqi and American sides emphasized the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.”

She added that “the Iraqi and American sides have agreed to form a special team to discuss the mechanisms and timing of the redeployment of the international coalition forces led by the United States of America outside Iraq.”

And quoted statements by US President Trump as saying, “We withdrew dramatically from Iraq and very few soldiers remained,” adding that “Al-Kazemi is a man who gets along very well with him.”

Trump affirmed his “commitment to the rapid exit of the international coalition forces over a period of three years.”

And continued, “conscious,” that “Washington confirmed its support for Al-Kazemi’s plans to reform the Iraqi economy,” noting that “Baghdad and Washington signed a memorandum of understanding to support the health sector in Iraq.”   LINK

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Samson:  Iraq, US companies sign deals worth more than $8 billion before Kadhimi-Trump meeting

20th August, 2020
An Iraqi prime minister will visit the White House Thursday for the first time in three years as ties have warmed between Washington and Baghdad since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was appointed earlier this year.

On Wednesday, Kadhimi and other members of his government met with US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, where several bilateral agreements and deals were signed.

A deal between Iraq and the US’s General Electric worth more than $1 billion was among the new agreements. A $500 million agreement was signed between Iraq and GE Gas Power to service power plants in Iraq and to help maintain over 6,000 megawatts of electricity, a statement from GE said. Another agreement worth $727 million was signed between Iraq and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions “to reinforce Iraq’s transmission network, enhancing grid stability and interconnection with the electricity grid of Jordan.”

A statement from the US Department of Energy said five American companies signed deals with Iraqi officials in the Oil and Electricity Ministries worth over $8 billion.

Earlier in the day, a senior US administration official said that “many US companies” would sign different agreements with the Iraqi government during the visit. “We are covering a broad range of investments,” and a number of different US companies are working on energy and electricity projects, the official said. “The Prime Minister [Kadhimi] and President [Trump] made this a priority,” the official, speaking to reporters on background, said.

The US official said Washington would continue to assist and enable the Iraqi electricity grid so that it can be connected to the GCC.

On July 16, a joint statement from the US, Iraq and the GCC announced full support for the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) project to connect the electricity grids of Iraq and the GCC. “The United States is committed to facilitating this project and providing support where needed,” the statement said at the time. “Our goal is to ensure that there is a balance within Iraq with its relationship with its neighbors,” the US official said Wednesday.

US withdrawal of troops

Kadhimi’s visit comes on the heels of the US-Iraqi Strategic Dialogue where both sides look to boost bilateral relations and build a better understanding on how to counter common threats.

Trump visits US troops in Iraq. (AP)

Trump has repeatedly said he would pull the US out of “endless wars,” with Iraq being one of them.

On Wednesday, Trump reiterated his desire to continue reducing the number of US soldiers abroad. This will be discussed on Thursday, according to the US administration official, who said he did not expect a specific timeline to be announced.

Western military trainers are expected to remain in Iraq, but it is not clear how many. The US has had around 5,000 troops stationed in the country, and coalition allies have another 2,500.

In an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his trip to the US, Kadhimi hinted at downsizing the US force. “In the end, we will still need cooperation and assistance at levels that today might not require direct and military support, and support on the ground,” he said. Kadhimi added that the cooperation “will reflect the changing nature of terrorism’s threat,” including continued training and weapons support.   LINK

Samson:  Al-Kazemi: Iraq is working to establish a strong economic alliance with America

20th August, 2020

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi confirmed that economic reforms are the only option to confront the financial and economic crisis currently facing Iraq, explaining that Iraq is working to establish a strong and sustainable alliance with America in the economic field

In his speech at the American Chamber of Commerce, followed by “Economy News”, Al-Kazemi said that Iraq is going through an unprecedented financial crisis due to the drop in oil prices, which increases the financial budget by more than 90% and is accompanied by the outbreak of the Corona virus

He added that the government is working to correct the course of the Iraqi economy by focusing on two main axes, the first is to implement an integrated reform program that includes all economic aspects, the second is to combat corruption and enhance transparency, explaining that Iraq’s problems are the control of the government sector, dependence on oil, high unemployment rates, low growth rates and Iraqi income

He indicated that the government is seeking to implement real reform measures that may be painful in the short term, but they are very necessary in advancing the economy

He pointed out that the reform program depends on diversifying the economy, revitalizing non-oil economic sectors such as agriculture, industry and services, and moving towards a market economy by moving away from government control over the economy, pointing out that the development of infrastructure will be with the participation of the private sector

Al-Kazemi revealed that the government is holding talks with a number of international legal institutions to track down corruption and corruption deals and hold accountable everyone who tampered with state funds, explaining that the government is working to reconsider legislation to fill the gaps that allow the corrupt to exploit them

In the conclusion of his speech, Al-Kazemi noted that Iraq believes in a strong and sustainable alliance with America in the areas of economic growth and reforms, and this alliance will achieve stability and the aspirations of the Iraqi and American peoples

Al-Kazemi opened the way for American investors to work inside Iraq in the fields of oil exploration, construction of refineries, petrochemical and gas plants associated with production, housing, education and health   LINK

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Samson:  Al-Kazemi meets with members of the Businessmen Forum and the American Chamber of Commerce in Washington

20th August, 2020

In the framework of his current visit to Washington, the Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, met with a number of members of the American Businessmen Forum and the American Chamber of Commerce, in the presence of the US Secretary of Energy Dan Proelt

At the beginning of the meeting, Al-Kazemi welcomed the members of the Businessmen Forum and the American Chamber of Commerce, and expressed his thanks for their warm hospitality and reception

Al-Kazemi pointed to the importance of sustainable strategic cooperation with the United States, and with American companies and banks, and stressed the government’s willingness to remove all obstacles to the work of American companies in Iraq

He indicated that investment opportunities are available to American businessmen and companies, and called on American banks to cooperate in the development of the Iraqi banking system, to keep pace with international banks as the basis for a major economic openness

For their part, members of the Businessmen Forum and the American Chamber of Commerce expressed the readiness of major American companies to work and invest in Iraq, and expressed their optimism about the steps of the Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, since he assumed his duties in the government   LINK

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Don961:  Iraqi Prime Minister meets US Secretary of State

Thursday 1/1/1442 AH corresponding to 20/08/2020 AD, SPA

Washington, 29 Dhu al-Hijjah 1441 AH, corresponding to August 19, 2020 AD, SPA

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on the sidelines of the strategic dialogue between the United States of America and Iraq, which was held today in Washington, DC.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed the highlights of the strategic dialogue, reaffirming the principles that were agreed upon by the two sides in the Strategic Framework Agreement.

Pompeo encouraged the Prime Minister and the Iraqi government to continue efforts to meet the demands of the Iraqi people for a more equitable and just state, expressing his support for the holding of proposed early elections next year.

The US Secretary of State pledged to continue working with the Iraqi Prime Minister on ways to address the enormous economic challenges facing Iraq in light of the Covid-19 epidemic and the decline in oil prices, stressing the need for Iraq to enact fundamental economic reforms, to strengthen trade relations between the United States and Iraq.

The two sides also discussed ways in which the United States could continue to provide long-term support to Iraqi security forces and civilian security institutions, including the Iraqi-led effort on internal security sector reforms.   LINK

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Samson:  Finance announces the signing of three agreements with American companies

20th August, 2020

On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance announced the signing of three agreements with well-known American companies to support the economy, finance large projects and develop the electricity sector.

Finance Minister Ali Abdul Amir Allawi told government media that “three agreements were signed with the American side, the first with USAID to restore their programs in Iraq and support the Iraqi economy, especially in the field of social development,” noting that “the agency is one of the largest institutions that contributed In the reconstruction of Iraq.”

He added that “the second agreement was with one of the American government institutions that supports direct investments by taking shares in corporate institutions, including Iraqi companies, and they will be an important source in financing large projects.”

Regarding the third signature, Allawi explained that “it has been done with the Jie Electric Equipment Company to finance major projects in the electricity sector. The agreement will be important to rebuilding the electricity sector and power generation in Iraq,” noting that “the Development Agency with the American Foundation for Investment Support will provide up to five billion dollars.” And it will be in installments and will be directed towards development projects for the purpose of developing the Iraqi economy.”  LINK

Samson:  The delegation accompanying Al-Kazemi in Washington delivers “good news”

20th August, 2020

A member of the delegation accompanying the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, who is visiting Washington, revealed positive results reached by the visit, especially in the economic aspect and the financial crisis between Baghdad and Erbil.

The deputy of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Aras Khoshnaw, told Shafaq News, in a phone call from Washington, “There is good news after the visit of the Iraqi delegation to Washington,” regarding the financial crisis between the region and Baghdad.

Khoshnaw, a member of the Iraqi delegation in Washington, accused the media and communication sites of confusion about the truth of the negotiations between Baghdad and Erbil, stressing the Kurdistan Region’s keenness to obtain constitutional rights and reach fair and just solutions to the crises.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced financial aid to Baghdad, and called on the Iraqi government to launch the budget for the Kurdistan Region.

Last April, a document issued by the Federal Government revealed that the salaries of Kurdistan Region employees were stopped, due to “Erbil’s failure to deliver imports of oil sales to it.” However, the regional government denied this information, and began rounds of dialogue with the government in Baghdad.

The rounds of dialogue concluded with the signing of an agreement this month that regulates the financial relationship between the two parties. Baghdad pays 453 billion Iraqi dinars (about 380 million dollars) per month in salaries to the region’s employees, but these amounts decreased after the collapse of oil prices due to the Corona pandemic.  LINK

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Don961:  Al-Kazemi confirms from Washington that Iraq looks forward to working with the International Monetary Fund to achieve economic reform

Policy 08/19/2020 20:23 499    Baghdad Today – Baghdad

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi confirmed, on Wednesday, from Washington that Iraq looks forward to working with the International Monetary Fund to achieve economic reform.

Al-Kazemi’s office said in a statement that the latter “met at his residence in Washington today, Wednesday, with the Director General of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and her accompanying delegation, and during the meeting, aspects of cooperation between Iraq and the International Monetary Fund were discussed.”

Al-Kazemi stressed that “Iraq looks forward to working with the International Monetary Fund to achieve economic reform, and that the government is ready to overcome all obstacles facing the work of the International Monetary Fund in Iraq.”

The Prime Minister discussed with the delegation the possibility of concluding an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, to support the Iraqi economy and reduce its dependence on oil, by rehabilitating other sectors and making them compete with the oil sector in a way that can absorb unemployment in the country.

For her part, the Director General of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, congratulated the Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, for his ability to achieve stability in Iraq within a short period of the assumption of his governmental duties.

And it commended the steps taken by his sovereignty to achieve economic reform, despite the many challenges he faces, foremost of which is the Corona pandemic, as well as the economic problems resulting from the drop in global oil prices, according to the statement.

Georgieva confirmed that they believe in the partnership with Iraq, and the importance of standing with it from international economic institutions, whether it is the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

Georgieva praised the professionalism and frankness of the Iraqi negotiator, and praised the leadership of the Prime Minister, Mr. Mustafa Al-Kazemi, in his confrontation with the current economic challenges, and expressed her optimism about Iraq’s ability to overcome the current crisis to a better economic future.  LINK

Ryan1216:  We have to be at the finish line for this investment. Bring it home Kazemi!!!

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Samson:  Joint Statement by the Governments of the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America

20th August, 2020

The following statement was released by the Governments of the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America:

Begin text:

The Government of Iraq, led by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, and the Government of United States, led by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, held a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee today in Washington, D.C. as described in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq (SFA). The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a robust and productive bilateral relationship. Separate sessions covered economics, energy, health and environment, political and diplomatic issues, security and counterterrorism, and education and cultural relations.

In the economic session, Iraq outlined its ideas for economic reform plans that would unleash faster growth and a more vibrant private sector. The United States reiterated its support for Iraq’s economic reforms and identified areas of cooperation that could help Iraq implement its plans. Both countries discussed coordination with international financial institutions to help Iraq recover from low oil prices and COVID-19 and put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path.

Both nations plan to cooperate on e-government, financial sector reforms, and private sector partnerships to boost U.S.-Iraq trade and investment. The two governments look forward to holding a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council meeting later this year to follow up on the June 2019 meeting.

In the energy session, the United States and Iraq discussed the Government of Iraq’s efforts to increase domestic electricity and gas production, reduce wasteful gas flaring, and implement energy market reforms. The two governments plan to hold an Energy Joint Coordination Committee meeting soon to discuss these topics in more detail.

On the sidelines of today’s meeting, the Government of Iraq signed substantial energy agreements with U.S. companies, including General Electric, Honeywell UOP, and Stellar Energy, as well as Memoranda of Understanding with Chevron and Baker Hughes, as concrete examples of the U.S.-Iraq energy partnership. Iraq and the United States noted ongoing cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to develop plans for electricity tariff reform in Iraq. The two governments plan to continue cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-states and Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority on Iraq/GCC electricity connections and energy investment.

United States welcomed the progress in the talks between the Iraqi Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government with regard to budgetary and energy issues.

In the health and environmental session, the United States and Iraq noted their ongoing partnership to combat COVID-19 and their intent to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand bilateral health trade.

The two governments also discussed ongoing cooperation on environmental, water, and scientific issues and plan to hold a separate Joint Coordination Committee meeting on those topics.

In the political and diplomatic session, the United States reaffirmed its respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and relevant decisions of the Iraqi legislative and executive authorities. The two sides discussed how the United States could best support the Iraqi government as it prepares for parliamentary elections, including by increasing support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. Both nations reiterated their support for freedom of expression and media freedom, and the necessity to hold accountable the perpetrators of violence against peaceful protesters.

The United States supports Iraq’s efforts to improve relations with its neighboring states and plans to assist the Iraqi Government in this endeavor. The United States reaffirmed its continued commitment to supporting Iraq in advancing durable solutions for internally displaced persons that are voluntary, safe, and dignified, and to help those communities that have been targeted for genocide by ISIS. The two sides recognized the need to improve access for humanitarian organizations.

In the security and counterterrorism session, the United States and Iraq reaffirmed their commitment to achieving common objectives through bilateral security coordination and continued cooperation between the Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The two delegations praised the growing capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces and their joint success in the fight against ISIS, which has enabled the Global Coalition to transition to a new phase focused on training, equipping, and supporting the Iraqi Security Forces.

The Iraqi government expressed its gratitude to the Global Coalition and asserted its willingness to facilitate this transition and confirmed its obligation as host country to provide protection for the Coalition’s personnel and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. Adapting to the requirements of this new phase, the Global Coalition has been able to depart from some Iraqi military bases and reduce combat forces in Iraq. The two sides plan on separate technical talks to manage the timing and transition to the new phase, including any associated redeployments from Iraq.

The U.S. and Iraqi delegations recognized the progress of the Iraqi Federal Security Institutions and the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in coordinating their efforts to combat ISIS remnants and discussed ways to further this cooperation.

In the education and culture session, the two governments discussed both past and current U.S. support for Iraq’s efforts to strengthen higher education in cooperation with American universities in Iraq, through the Fulbright program, and through the U.S. Embassy’s Higher Education Partnership initiative. The United States and Iraq identified additional ways to support Iraq’s plans to address higher education reform priorities and strengthen U.S.-Iraqi university partnerships.

The two sides also reviewed progress in the return of the Baath Party Archives to Iraq as an important artifact of Iraq’s history. The two delegations discussed their mutual efforts to preserve Iraq’s rich cultural heritage and religious diversity and reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating in the return of Iraqi cultural property illegally imported into the United States to their rightful place in Iraq.  LINK