US Deputy Assistant Secretary says America is ‘strengthening’ Kurdistan
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Jennifer Gavito, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran and Iraq, said that the US is in Iraq for the long-term, during a forum on Wednesday.
The US official made the comments during the second day of the annual Middle East Research Institute (MERI) forum in Erbil.
“Given the situation in Afghanistan that I want to address head on, I recognize that people are concerned,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary Gavito said.
“So, it's really important to say this: Iraq is not Afghanistan, we are here for the long-term, we view Iraq as a key strategic relationship and key strategic partner in addressing all the challenges I have raised.”
“We are committed to that relationship as a strategic basis for stability and security throughout the Middle East,” she added. “As President Biden said during his meeting with (Iraqi) Prime Minister (Mustafa al-) Kadhimi in July and his meeting with president (Barham) Salih with the UN in September, Iraq stability is central to the stability of the Middle East."
Gavito also emphasized that the US works in partnership with the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the people of Iraq “to support a stable sovereign, prosperous, and democratic country.”
She also sought to emphasize that the US is part of the coalition to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and is transitioning “at the end of the year to strictly advising, assisting and enabling.”
“We're shifting to a new phase, which is based on the enhanced capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces,” Gavito said. “We remain committed to the fight and to the ongoing development of the Iraqi security forces including the Peshmerga.”
She also said the US commitment to the Kurdistan Region is clear from the new US consulate building that is being built in Erbil after a panelist suggested the US is not loyal to its allies, unlike Russia and Iran.
“As you drive by on the highway, you see this enormous construction complex that is the new consulate compound of the United States. And I point that out because it is an enormous investment in the Kurdistan Region,” Gavito said.
“We have no intention of dropping our commitments to the people of the KRG, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan,” she added. “We are in fact doubling down on our investment here.”
“We're expanding education opportunities by supporting education here in the region and also enhancing opportunities for students.”
Gavito also said that the United States is “working every day through our presence here in Erbil to strengthen Iraqi Kurdistan.”