Al Faw Palace
Q Sir, can you tell us what your primary purpose is in being here?
THE PRESIDENT: To say thank you to the troops. They are doing extraordinary work. General Odierno has been helping to lead a very effective operation here. We want to be fully briefed. And nothing does that better than face-to-face meetings.
I’ll have the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani while I’m here. Obviously we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get Afghanistan right. But I think it’s important for us to remember that there’s still a lot of work to be done here. And in addition to thanking our troops, I also want to send a strong message to our diplomatic corps and our civilians that they’re going to be critical to our success here.
We’ve made significant political progress. You’ve seen a greater willingness on the part of all the factions in Iraq to resolve their issues politically and through non-violent means. But with the national elections coming up, many of the unresolved issues may be brought to a head. And it’s very important for us to use all of our influence to encourage parties to resolve these issues in ways that are equitable and fair. And I think that my presence here can help do that.
Okay. Thank you, guys.
Not to mention, Chip, I thought you guys hadn’t been on the road long enough. (Laughter.) I know that you didn’t feel like going home, we had under-worked you. So I figured one more stop.
Q Did you say you’re meeting with or talking to —-
THE PRESIDENT: I will be meeting with them, face to face.
Q Face to face?
Q Will that be here, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. In the near vicinity.
(Source: White House)