Bush, Iraq’s Maliki To Confer on Iraqi Security Forces

By Stephen Kaufman
USINFO White House Correspondent

Washington - President Bush will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Amman, Jordan, on November 29 and 30 to hear a report by a joint U.S.-Iraqi commission tasked with accelerating the transfer of security responsibility to Iraqi forces.

According to a joint statement released by Bush and Maliki November 21, the two leaders will consult on the security situation in Iraq, including current developments and the role of Iraq’s neighbors, as well as the progress of the commission in its deliberations over “transferring security and responsibility” from coalition forces to Iraqi security forces.

In a briefing en route to Andrews Air Force Base November 21, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said the joint commission had been asked to examine “ways we could strengthen Iraqi security forces and give Iraqis and the Iraqi government and the prime minister more control over those forces.”  Bush and Maliki also will be reviewing the general situation and discussing how to move ahead “in a more effective and expeditious way.”

Bush will “want to hear what Prime Minister Maliki wants to say, who's obviously been developing his own ideas on the way forward,” Hadley said.

The meeting comes immediately after Bush’s visit to Riga, Latvia, for the NATO Summit November 28-29.  Hadley said Jordan was selected as the venue because the country “has been very helpful and supportive of the unity government in Iraq.” (See related article.)

Asked about meetings between Iraq and its neighbors Syria and Iran, Hadley said direct talks are “important,” and that they allow Iraq to “mak[e] it clear to them that they need to play a positive role in seeking security, stability and democracy in Iraq.”

The full text of the joint statement announcing the Amman meeting and a transcript of Hadley’s remarks can be found on the White House Web site.

For more information on U.S. policy, see Iraq Update.