29 June 2009

Statement Regarding June 30 U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Major Iraqi Cities

/PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was released by Qubad Talabani, the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government to the United States:

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is deeply grateful to the United States and the U.S. military for their role in liberating Iraq, and partnering with us as we build our federal democracy. Thanks to the sacrifices and valor of U.S. and coalition troops, Iraq has achieved many successes, including the drafting and ratification of a permanent constitution as well as executing several relatively smooth transitions of power following national and provincial elections.

Moreover, on July 25, those living in Iraqi Kurdistan will elect members of a new parliament, another step in our journey toward a full democracy in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

This progress, along with the relative stability throughout much of Iraq, though promising, should not lull international observers into a false sense of security. Recently, deadly bombings within Iraq have increased--just days before the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq's urban areas. The KRG remains acutely concerned that the departure of U.S. forces has the potential to create an environment easily exploited by extremists and terrorists who desire to foment violence.

Furthermore, critical issues--essential to the stability of our country--remain unresolved, and the current fragile situation could easily degenerate into violence. These include:

1. Universal adherence to the constitution of Iraq.
2. Passage of oil and gas revenue-sharing legislation.
3. Resolution of Iraq's "disputed territories" through implementing
Article 140 of Iraq's Permanent Constitution.

We implore the Obama Administration to uphold its commitment to a phased, responsible withdrawal from Iraq. The existing Status of Forces Agreement signed between the U.S. and the Iraqi governments sets a firm date for U.S. troops to leave Iraq; however, It is our hope that the U.S. withdrawal will be no sooner than the resolution of these key political issues within Iraq -- establishing a foundation upon which Iraq will be able to successfully secure a peaceful future for the entire region.

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