Congressional Delegation: We Are Convinced There Must Be a Political Solution to Problems in Iraq

January 26, 2007
Press Release
Washington, D.C. - A senior bipartisan Congressional delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today following their trip to Iraq.  The delegation included Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton; Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos; Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes; Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Nita Lowey; and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member David Hobson.

'Our delegation traveled to Iraq to thank our troops for the way they are doing their difficult jobs under extremely dangerous conditions.  We expressed our unwavering support for them, and for their families, as well as our hope that they will come home safely and soon.

'In meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad, and senior U.S. military officers, including multi-national commander General George Casey, we stressed our belief that it is well past time for the Iraqis to take primary responsibility for the security of their nation.  The delegation's view is that American forces should quickly begin to transition from a combat role to one focused on training, counter-terrorism, force protection, and controlling Iraq's borders.

'We are convinced that there must be a political solution to the problems in Iraq.  The sooner Iraqi leaders make necessary political accommodations, including amending their constitution to resolve outstanding differences among all Iraqi communities, the better the chances for ending the sectarian violence.  We encourage active diplomacy in the region.

'We were inspired by the patriotism and dedication of the American troops we were privileged to meet.  We left Iraq with a renewed appreciation for their courage and the selflessness they bring to the great service they provide to our country.'