Iraq's Prime Minister Visits Diyala for First Time
27 July 07
By Multi-National Division-North Public Affairs Office.
BAQUBAH, Iraq - Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, met with the governor of Diyala, provincial leadership, key tribal leaders, Diyala’s Iraqi security force leadership and senior coalition officers during a meeting at the Baqubah Government Center, July 26.
“The prime minister’s visit is vital, not only for the government and security officials, but for the people of Diyala to see that their effort in achieving peace and fighting against terrorist groups does not go unnoticed,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala province.
The visit, which focused on current operations in the province as well as provincial-level government issues, was Maliki’s first trip to Diyala province since taking office.
“This is a great day for Diyala province because the prime minister is among us,” said Ra’ad Hameed Al-Mula Jowad Al-Tamimi, governor of Diyala.
“We are here to thank all the excellent efforts by you (the government and security officials), and we also came to thank the people of Diyala,” Maliki said in his opening remarks. “We can say that the suffering of Diyala people is ending, and we in the central government appreciate all your efforts.”
During the meeting, Maliki addressed the peoples’ ability to rise above terrorism, assuring those present that the central government will continue to work closely with the provincial government and is committed to the people of Diyala.
“This province suffered a lot from the outlaws,” Maliki said. “They wanted it to be a huge graveyard, but we wanted something else for Diyala – and we succeeded when the Iraqi army, Iraqi police, tribes and all other people found out what the terrorists are really made of. “We are fighting against the terrorists and we will prevail,” Maliki added, before discussing the importance of tribal reconciliation.
“Iraq is not only for some people, it’s for everyone,” Maliki said. “We cannot ignore our nation and we have to be united in our efforts to build Iraq.”
“The tribes have to support the government in its war against the terrorists – they play a big role,” the governor added.
“Iraq, with all its (rich resources) and people, can eliminate all kind of threats,” Maliki continued. “We will all work together for the prosperity of this country and we will not let anyone interfere with our affairs or with the political process.”
“The ultimate success of Diyala lies in the hands of the people,” Sutherland said. “Today’s meeting continued to prove that the governments, both central and provincial, care greatly for the peoples’ safety, security and well-being. “The will of the government drives the hope of the people,” Sutherland continued, “and I hope today’s visit, along with recent operations throughout Diyala, continue to restore that hope – a hope that the terrorists tried to destroy, but couldn’t.”
Photo - Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, left, walks with Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of Iraqi security forces in Diyala province, after arriving at the Baqubah Government Center for his first visit to the province since taking office, July 26, 2007. Photo by Sgt. Serena Hayden.