On January 21, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) formalizing its cooperation to develop IHEC’s institutional capacity in the areas of strategic planning, electoral management, and external relations through the Elections Support Project. Under the MOU, USAID will continue to assist IHEC to develop its capacity to hold free and transparent elections.
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Beecroft (pictured) and USAID Mission Deputy Director David Harden signed the MOU for the U.S. Embassy, and IHEC Board Chairman Sarbast Rasheed signed for the IHEC. In his remarks, Ambassador Beecroft said that:
"The United States remains committed to its partnership with Iraq and with the IHEC to facilitate the success of free and fair elections that will help solidify democratic processes in Iraq."
USAID Mission Deputy Director Harden highlighted the positive cooperation between the United States and Iraqi governments, noting:
"Signing this MOU renews our commitment to work with our Iraqi counterparts for the common goal that unifies us: seeing Iraq’s nascent democratic traditions and institutions grow and flourish."
Mr. Rasheed expressed his appreciation for the support that USAID has given to the IHEC and thanked USAID for its continued commitment by saying that:
"USAID has played an important role in helping the IHEC meet international standards for transparent, credible elections. The MOU that we have signed today reaffirms our commitment to continue these efforts."
This MOU supports the U.S.-Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement by helping ensure that the Iraqi people’s voices are heard in free and fair elections.
(Source: US Embassy)