President Salih, Addressing World Leaders Forum, Stresses Economic Achievements


President Salih delivered a speech outlining Iraq’s progress today at the World Leaders Forum, while noting challenges. 
“This is a country that has been through hard times. Probably no other country has gone through what Iraq has gone through for such an extended period of time,” he said.
Addressing the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University in New York today, His Excellency noted that “there is hope for a better Iraq after the military defeat of ISIS. Security is becoming more and more realized. The economy is becoming more and more active. And there is a growing sense of confidence in the Iraqi population across the country that the future could be better. Despite the many challenges we face, there is a sense that this country is moving in the right direction. There is a trajectory of hope, a trajectory of positive developments.” 
The President stressed that the defeat of ISIS is a truly significant achievement, and would not have been possible without the entire nation having committed to this: Arabs, Kurds, Sunnis, Shias, Christians, and more. He added that the success would not have been possible without the support of the international coalition.
“We need a new regional order that should be based on combating extremism and terrorism. We should not allow terrorism to be a tool that can be used against one country from another,” President Salih added.
“We need to cherish victory, protect it, and sustain it. There must be more than just a territorial and military defeat of ISS,” he said. 
The President noted that “we need fundamental economic reforms to empower the private sector and make sure that Iraq has job opportunities.”
“Extremism comes from the collapsed services, lack of health and educational opportunities, and a lack of job opportunities for the young people,” His Excellency added.
President Salih said that “overcoming the legacy of war, overcoming the impediment of corruption, which is a major issue to be overcome, is really monumental” for the advancement of Middle Eastern societies.
His Excellency went on to say, “If we were able to transform and change the narrative on these political arguments and competition, towards one of economic competition, I think the Middle East will be in a much better place,” noting that “we are now proposing major legislation towards that end in Iraq. We are focused on infrastructure - railways, highways, airports, industrial zones, and educational centers.”
President Salih stressed that Iraq, “because of its geography, is comprised of Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Turkmans, Yazidis and many more, and a place where fundamental communities come together. This can promote security, stability, and peace.