By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met for the first time with his Iraqi counterpart, acting Iraqi Defense Minister Dr. Sadun al-Dulaymi, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said yesterday.
The two defense leaders met at the Pentagon yesterday during this week’s inaugural meeting of the Defense and Security Joint Coordinating Committee, Little said.
The joint committee on defense and security was established by the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee under the Strategic Framework Agreement signed in 2008 to affirm both nations’ desire to establish long-term bonds of cooperation and friendship.
“Secretary Panetta thanked Dr. al-Dulaymi for his leadership and the two leaders noted the sacrifices of both nations to help the Iraqi people secure a brighter future,” Little said.
Panetta directed his advisory team, led by Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller, to work closely with the Iraqis during this week’s meeting.
“These discussions mark a new phase in the military-to-military relationship between the United States and Iraq,” Little said, “and serve as an opportunity to further the vital strategic interests of both nations.”