By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
Dec. 4, 2008 - The new U.S.-Iraq security pact that was approved by Iraqi lawmakers Nov. 27 was ratified by Iraq's Presidency Council today, senior U.S. officials said. The two-part security pact consists of a strategic framework agreement that establishes the foundation of a long-term bilateral relationship between the United States and Iraq, as well as a status-of-forces agreement that stipulates how U.S. forces are affected by Iraqi laws.
Both agreements will take effect Jan. 1, following the exchange of diplomatic notes. The agreements replace a United Nations mandate authorizing the U.S. military presence in Iraq that's slated to expire Dec. 31.
"We welcome today's ratification by Iraqi's Presidency Council of the Strategic Framework Agreement and Security Agreement," U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker and Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, said in a joint statement issued today.
"The United States Embassy and the Multinational Force Iraq will begin immediately to implement these two agreements with our Iraqi partners," Crocker and Odierno continued. "We will undertake initiatives to strengthen our cooperation in the fields of economics, energy health, the environment, education, culture and law enforcement."
The United States also will support Iraq's request to the U.N. Security Council to continue protection of Iraqi assets, Crocker and Odierno stated.
The now-ratified U.S.-Iraq security pact contains "two landmark agreements that will guide our relationships with Iraq, to help solidify Iraq's democratic gains that they've made over the past few years, affirm Iraq's sovereignty, and put its relations with the United States on a strong footing," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters today.
A majority vote of Iraqi legislators in attendance approved the new security pact a week ago today. Iraqi lawmakers' approval of the pact "affirms the growth of Iraq's democracy" as well as its "increasing ability to secure itself," President George W. Bush said in White House statement issued Nov. 27.