Ambassador Faily Keynotes Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference

Ambassador Faily delivered a keynote address on the second day of the 22nd Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers conference: Navigating Arab-U.S. Relations: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities. The two-day conference brought together internationally renowned specialists to discuss, debate and analyze issues of importance to the Arab and American people's interests and concerns.

In his keynote address, Ambassador Faily outlined the key threats to the Middle East, notably terrorism, sectarianism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The Ambassador asserted that it is in the vital interests of the United States - and the region as a whole - to not only continue but also enhance cooperation and coordinated efforts to eliminate common threats.

The Ambassador discussed how the Arab Spring acted as a key driver of change and transformation in the Middle East and affirmed Iraq’s support for the rights of the people of the Arab world to seek greater freedoms. Further, Ambassador Faily noted that Iraq was the first country in the region to make the transition from dictatorship to democracy. But he warned of the threat of terrorist groups and extremists that seek to hijack the gains achieved by pro-democratic movements.

Ambassador Faily explained the rationale behind Iraq's stance towards the Syrian conflict, noting that only a negotiated settlement could offer any hope of a lasting peace. He also warned of the imminent dangers of transnational terrorist networks and the spread of sectarian polarization across the region.

The Ambassador suggested that fostering economic interdependence across the Middle East could serve to counter political rivalries and encourage greater respect for state sovereignty. He concluded by describing Iraq's economic development in recent years, noting the vast opportunities for the United States and Iraq's neighbors to invest in the rebuilding of the country.

You can read the full text of Ambassador Faily's speech here.

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations is an American non-profit, non-governmental, organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world.

The conference was held at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, DC on October 22-23, 2013. For more information about the annual event, click here.