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Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein before their meeting – United States Department of State

SECRETARY BLINKING: Good morning everyone. As always, it is a great pleasure to have my friend and colleague Fuad Hussein, the Foreign Minister of Iraq, here at the State Department in Washington.

We look forward to Prime Minister Sudani’s visit to President Biden in a few weeks, as well as the meeting of our Higher Coordination Committee, which is a crucial part of the strategic framework agreement that truly guides the 360-degree relationship between Iraq and the United States, a testament to this ensure that our partnership addresses many issues and issues that directly impact the lives of Iraqis and Americans – from water to energy to the environment to the delivery of services.

So we’re really looking forward to preparing for this meeting and tackling some of the immediate challenges that lie ahead. But for us, Iraq is an important, critical partner, vital to the stability of the region, and again, one with whom we have not only a long-standing relationship, but also a comprehensive relationship on the issues it addresses.

Fuad, it’s nice to have you here today.

FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Thank you. Thank you, my friend, my colleague Tony Blinken. It is truly a pleasure to be here and discuss various issues related to our bilateral relations. We have been partners in the fight against ISIS and will remain partners in this fight. It is our duty to continue the fight against terrorism and we have done a great job in defeating the so-called terrorist state ISIS.

We are also partners in building our economy and work together in various areas. I am very pleased to be here to have discussions with various officials in Washington, DC. And we will work together to continue our partnership in various areas and we await the presence of our Prime Minister in the city. And we will also discuss the situation in the Middle East and the tensions there, and we will work together to reduce tensions in this area.

Thank you for your time, thank you for the welcome and the handshake. OK. (Laugh.)

SECRETARY BLINKING: As always. Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKING: And I just want to add one thing to what Fuad said, which is – I think it’s very important – that unfortunately we are reminded that ISIS continues to be a real threat. And despite the very good work we have done over the years in dealing with this threat and significantly containing it, we are reminded by the terrible attack outside Moscow just a few days ago that ISIS remains a potentially powerful force, and one that we continue to have to deal with. We mourn the loss of so many innocent people attending a concert outside Moscow. This is a very unfortunate reminder that we must continue to deal with ISIS and ensure that it does not resurface and regenerate. Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Since we suffer from ISIS and have fought ISIS, I too condemn this attack. And that means that ISIS still poses a threat to peace in the Middle East, but also to security and peace elsewhere.

SECRETARY BLINKING: Thank you very much.

FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Thank you.

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