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Obama, Maliki to discuss SFA, regional priorities

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (KUNA) -- President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will discuss the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA) and coordination on a range of regional priorities during their meeting tomorrow, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday.
The United States "condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent terrorist attacks across Iraq," Carney said during a briefing. "We are deeply concerned about the nature of these attacks and the increased levels of violence in Iraq in recent months. These attacks are disturbing and are a constant reminder of the formidable challenges Iraq continues to face on the security front," he pointed out.
The violence is coming from al-Qaeda and its affiliates as they try to provoke cycles of sectarian reprisals, "but we are confident they will not succeed," Carney said.
"We have seen them try this repeatedly in Iraq, and for a period there, they succeeded. But we believe they will not succeed in this new effort. "The vast majority of the Iraqi people continue to reject this violence and call for political dialogue to resolve tensions," he went on.
Obama will raise his concerns with Maliki about the violence in Iraq and the need to take peaceful steps to reduce that violence, "and inclusive democratic governance is a key piece of the picture there and always has been, " Carney said.
Responding to calls by some in Congress to limit U.S. military assistance to Iraq, Carney said "targeted foreign assistance to Iraq remains an essential piece of our engagement, and it helps cement the United States' enduring partnership with Iraq during this important period of transition." U.S. security assistance and foreign military sales are key tools for building and shaping Iraq's defense capabilities and integrating Iraqi security forces into the region, anchored by U.S. materiel and training, he added. (end) rm.gb KUNA 312157 Oct 13NNNN