The following is President Obama's statement, released by the White House Monday. It is shared unedited here:
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
5:08 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I
wanted to provide an update on recent developments in Iraq, including
some important steps forward as Iraqis form a new government.
Over the past few days,
American forces have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to
prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to
protect American civilians there. Kurdish forces on
the ground continue to defend their city, and we’ve stepped up military
advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the
fight against ISIL.
At the same time, we’ve
continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide life-saving
assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar, and
deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team
to help. Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and
we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring
them to safety. I want to thank in particular the United Kingdom,
France, and other countries working with us to provide
much needed assistance to the Iraqi people. And, meanwhile, our
aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist forces around the
mountain who threaten the safety of these families.
This advances the limited
military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq: protecting American
citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle
these terrorists, and joining with international
partners to provide humanitarian aid. But as I said when I authorized
these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger
crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come
together and form an inclusive government -- one
that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that
can unify the country’s fight against ISIL.
Today, Iraq took a
promising step forward in this critical effort. Last month, the Iraqi
people named a new President. Today, President Masum named a new Prime
Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi. Under
the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new
government that can unite Iraq’s different communities.
Earlier today, Vice
President Biden and I called Dr. Abadi to congratulate him and to urge
him to form a new cabinet as quickly as possible -- one that’s inclusive
of all Iraqis, and one that represents all Iraqis.
I pledged our support to him, as well as to President Masum and Speaker
Jabouri, as they work together to form this government. Meanwhile, I
urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the
political process in the days ahead.
This new Iraqi leadership
has a difficult task. It has to regain the confidence of its citizens
by governing inclusively and by taking steps to demonstrate its
resolve. The United States stands ready to support
a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi
people. We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to
deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in
Iraq. Mobilizing that support will be easier once
this new government is in place.
These have been difficult
days in Iraq -- a country that has faced so many challenges in its
recent history. And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead.
But just as the United States will remain vigilant
against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to
partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces. Without
question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on
today’s progress, and come together to support a
new and inclusive government.
Labels: Iraq, Mount Sinjar, President Barack Obama, USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, White House