the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release

Statement on National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken’s Travel

National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken visited Iraq on June 13-14 and met with a range of senior Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki, Deputy Prime Minister Shahristani, and KRG President Barzani.  He also spoke by telephone with President Talabani, Foreign Minister Zebari, and Council of Representatives Speaker Nujaifi.  NSA Blinken made clear to all his interlocutors that the United States takes no side in the current political situation, but favors any solution that is reached by the Iraqis themselves, in accordance with Iraqi law and the constitution, and is achieved in a clear and transparent manner that does not promote or lead to violence.  He urged Iraqi leaders to move quickly to alleviate current tensions in order to refocus energy on critical state-building challenges, including preparations for provincial and local elections next year.  He underscored that the United States calls on Iraq’s neighbors to support Iraq’s sovereign right to choose its own government.   He also stressed that the Iraqi and American people have sacrificed greatly for Iraq’s constitutional and democratic system, which continues to have our unwavering support.