VP Biden's Address to US-Iraq Higher Coordinating Cmte

The United States government has invested over $100 million in Iraq’s transportation infrastructure, helping update regulations and standards in Iraq’s civilian aviation authority. Iraq’s civilian air traffic controllers -- $60 million; dispatching systems for the Iraqi railways, et cetera.

So the generic point that I want to make is the one you all have made, and we’ve it made in private, but the press should know -- the press should know that this is about developing a people’s capacity, it’s about developing what every people in the world are entitled to, the opportunity to choose their own future and have a chance to realize their great potential.

So I want to thank everyone involved in preparing for this meeting. It’s clear that a lot of work remains to be done to make it a success. I’ve been impressed as I’ve just outlined by the progress that has been made to date, and I expect even greater progress to come. Now it’s time for us to get to work in the coming months the various joint coordinating committees are going to meet and meet more regularly in order to implement the plans we’ve discussed here today. The menu is very large, very large. The opportunities are immense.

As you’ve heard we have big plans. Just to cite a few. We’re going to continue to expand our trade engagement, working hard to connect U.S. and Iraqi businesses in order to benefit the economies of both our countries, as well as connecting the rest of the world’s businesses with Iraq. We don't look at this as an opportunity for the United States to have business opportunities. Again, everyone will benefit the more engaged, the more countries, the more Arab, as well as non-Arab countries that are engaged in -- and European countries engaged with Iraq.

The fact is that we are demonstrating our commitment, 85 American companies are going to -- with a market capitalization of $1 trillion recently participated in a trade fair here in Baghdad. We’re going to expand exchange opportunities to connect agro-entrepreneurs with U.S. counterparts to improve agriculture as was mentioned here earlier today. We’re going to collaborate to improve, as was your idea in 2009, Mr. Prime Minister, that we should have a joint committee on local law enforcement and police training. We’re going to launch a new security, defense and joint coordinating committee to serve as an important forum for determining the future contours of our security relationship, made jointly and made as equal sovereigns.

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