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U.S., Iraq Sign Defense Cooperation Memo of Understanding

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American and Iraqi officials signed a memorandum of understanding in Baghdad that will make it easier for the two countries to work together.

The memo was one result of the Defense and Security Joint Coordination Committee that met in the Iraqi capital.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy James N. Miller, acting Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dlimi and acting Undersecretary of State for International Security Rose Gottemoeller participated in the meeting.

The committee discussed efforts to strengthen security cooperation between the two nations, officials said. This includes enhancing Iraq’s security capabilities and modernizing Iraqi forces. Officials looked at the U.S. foreign military sales program. Iraq is buying F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and M-1 Abrams tanks from the United States, among other programs. These procurements include spare parts, training, maintenance help and other considerations.

The officials also discussed regional issues and the ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria, defense officials said.

The memorandum of understanding -- signed by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Dlimi -- covers the range of U.S.-Iraqi defense cooperation and covers the next five years. This includes high-level military-to-military visits, professional military education cooperation, counterterrorism cooperation and the development of defense intelligence capabilities.

The two nations committed to joint exercises including exchanges of information dealing with humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, officials said.

Article by Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service