Iraqi Foreign Minister: “I hope financial crisis doesn’t lead to Troop Withdrawal”

Iraqi FM: Economic Crisis Could Affect U.S. Troops

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hoshyar Zebari  —  Iraq’s foreign minister says “there is a new world now” because of the global financial crisis and he hopes it won’t lead to an immediate withdrawal of the 146,000 American troops in his country.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said a precipitous withdrawal could have consequences for the country and the region that everyone would regret afterward.

Zebari is due to meet Saturday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York, where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly’s annual ministerial meeting.

He said he didn’t have any indications that the U.S. administration was thinking about pushing for a speedier exit from Iraq because of the financial meltdown.

But this is the logic of the dance,” Zebari told the AP on Friday. “Nobody anticipated this major crisis, and still there are ongoing efforts to overcome it.”

“This has nothing to do with liking this administration or that administration, or this president or that president”.

Asked whether he was concerned that the current financial crisis might lead the U.S. government to push for a speedier exit than Iraq might want, as a cost-saving measure, Zebari said: “I don’t know.” (MCAULEYSWORLD COMMENT: Thats right – the IRAQIS don’t want the US to leave now)

“We hope it would not have a dramatic impact to cause … drastic and calculated decisions that everybody would regret afterwards,” he said.

By drastic and calculated, was he referring to an immediate withdrawal?

Exactly, immediate precipitous withdrawal irrespective of any consequences,” Zebari said. “I think there is high stakes for everybody involved in the region, that every administration will take account of.”

Zebari described the security situation in Iraq as “fragile.”

We’ve turned the corner against terrorism, against preventing the country from falling into civil war or sectarian war or division. I think we’ve passed that,” he said.

But he said the security gains must be augmented by political reconciliation, economic benefits for the people, provision of services and better governance.

And the pace is slow, as you’ve seen in the past, so that’s why people think they are not solid enough and they could be reversed.”

CLEARLY, THE IRAQIS DISAGREE WITH OBAMA’S PROPOSALS FOR IRAQ.

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