We are here for one reason and only one reason: to assist in the development of the capacity of this great nation. Because as you develop, as you reach your potential which has been stinted by -- stunted by Saddam and terror following it, it is good for the whole world, it will bring stability to this region. That is our sole interest in Iraq. Period. End of story.
And so in the coming months, the various joint coordinating committees in order to implement what we’ve set out here, as the Foreign Minister said earlier, is going to require some traditional, normal written agreements that accommodate all of the people we have here. And we appreciate that cooperation. We appreciate that is not -- that's what normally occurs where we have these bilateral relationships. But it just is bigger here because the need is greater and the request is more consequential.
As we have seen today our relationship continues to evolve in a positive way, notwithstanding the naysayers in your country and the naysayers in our country. Every year, every visit I have made here, the cooperation evolves -- is more positive. It has. It’s difficult. But it is constantly moving in a direction that is forward.
We’ve in both our countries had to overcome certain misperceptions in both our countries, and we’ll continue to have to do that. In my country some question, is this worth it? Why are we continuing to expend so much energy and money? In your country I’m sure it’s the same thing you hear. Why do you need these guys? Why do you want them around?
The truth of the matter is -- the truth of the matter is I think you have demonstrated and we have demonstrated jointly that it’s worth it. It is worth it as costly and as difficult and sometimes as controversial as it is.
An example, the first meeting of this joint committee, this high committee was one that took place in January of 2009 at the time the SOFA was put forward. If I’m not mistaken, you and your colleagues suggested, Mr. Prime Minister, that it couldn’t just be about security. It had to be more. And so we set this committee up -- not this committee, we agreed on having a long-term, strategic agreement that went well beyond security. So the first meeting took place in January of 2009. The number of committees that existed under this umbrella committee were relatively small. It met then again in July of 2009 in a new administration.