Joe Biden & Iraqi Prime Minister Announce End of U.S. Combat Mission in Iraq Briefing Transcript

Joe Biden: (00:01)
Well, I’m honored to welcome the Prime Minister, we’ve known each other for some time. And welcome to the White House, welcome to the Oval Office Mr. Prime Minister.

Joe Biden: (00:11)
Iraq has been a vital partner for the United States for some time now in the Middle East and we’ve been engaged deeply in Iraq for my entire career, back in the Senate, as Vice President and as President. And I’ve worked with Iraq to… And a matter of fact, my son Beau was in Iraq for a year with the Army National Guard.

Joe Biden: (00:36)
And the sacrifices that so many have made to build the US-Iraq partnership has been real and it’s consequential. And my administration is committed to strengthening that partnership, Mr. Prime Minister. And the US-Iraqi strategic dialogue is about commitments that expand our cooperation on issues like healthcare, climate, energy.

Joe Biden: (01:03)
A matter of fact, I want to tell you that the half a million, 500,000, doses of COVID vaccine we’re sending, I was told you were told they wouldn’t come for a while. They’ll be there in a couple of weeks.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi: (01:17)
Thank you.

Joe Biden: (01:17)
They’ll be there quickly. We support strengthening Iraq’s democracy and we’re anxious to make sure the election goes forward in October. And we’re also committed to our security cooperation. Our shared fight against ISIS is critical for the stability of the region. And our counter-terrorism cooperation will continue even as we shift to this new phase we’re going to be talking about.

Joe Biden: (01:47)
I’m looking forward to consulting with the Prime Minister today. We have a lot to talk about. He’s been a good friend and I’m anxious to get going. The floor is yours, sir.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi: (01:57)
Thank you, Mr. President. This is a great honor to be here today with our American friends. We have strategic partnership. I’m happy to be here in Washington to discuss the future of our nation and how to prove this relation between our two countries.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi: (02:17)
America, they help Iraq. Together we have fight and defeat ISIS. And I’d like to thank the American people on behalf of Iraq’s people. Mr. President, I thank you for all the [inaudible 00:02:36] that America has given for a free and democratic Iraq.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi: (02:42)
Today our relation is stronger than ever. Our partnership is it for the economy, the environment, health, educated, culture and more. I’m looking forward to work with you Mr. President to bring our two countries more closer for benefit of Iraq and the United States. God bless our two countries. Thank you so much, Mr. President.

Joe Biden: (03:07)
Thank you.

Speaker 3: (03:07)
Thank you.

Speaker 4: (03:18)
Mr. President, Veterans Affairs is going to have a vaccine mandate. Mr. President-

Joe Biden: (03:19)
Whoa, whoa, whoa

Speaker 4: (03:19)
Veterans Affairs-

Joe Biden: (03:22)
Whoa. Hang on a second. If you want to talk about Iraq, ask me a question about Iraq.

Speaker 5: (03:29)
[crosstalk 00:03:29] How many troops would you like to see in Iraq by the end of this year? And how does the relationship change, considering this is the last strategic dialogue that you have with Iraq and the Prime Minister?

Joe Biden: (03:41)
This most recent dialogue, you mean. Well, we’ve been talking a lot. Our foreign ministers are our cabinet members have been talking. We’re looking forward to seeing an election in October. We’re working very hard with the Iraqi government to make sure the UN and the GCC, we have oversight, that these are full and fair elections.

Joe Biden: (04:04)
I’ve been in contact with al-Kadhimi… Anyway, I think things are going well. Our role in Iraq will be as a dealing with not… It’s just to be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS as it arrives. But we are not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.

Speaker 4: (04:36)
Mr. President, Veterans Affairs [crosstalk 00:04:41] Mr. President, Veterans Affairs is going to have a mandate for it’s health care-

Joe Biden: (04:43)
You are such a pain in the neck, but I’m going to answer your question because we’ve known each other for so long. It has nothing to do with Iraq.

Speaker 4: (04:50)
I take that as a compliment, Mr. President.

Joe Biden: (04:50)
I’ll answer your question. Yes. Veterans Affairs is going to in fact require that all docs working and facilities are going to have to be vaccinated-

Speaker 3: (04:59)
Thank you, guys.

Speaker 4: (04:59)
And do you think there will be more mandates for federal workers, sir?

Speaker 3: (05:00)
Let’s go. Thank you.

Joe Biden: (05:00)
Thank you.

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