BAGHDAD – The governor of Baghdad, the provincial chairman, and U.S. military and civilian leaders united their efforts regarding infrastructure and services projects in Baghdad and the outlying province when they signed a memorandum of understanding at Forward Operating Base Blackhawk in the International Zone.
The MOU establishes and outlines project development, execution and turn over procedures for U.S.-funded projects in and around Baghdad.
The memorandum was signed by Mueen Al-Kadhimi, Baghdad provincial chairman who presided over the ceremony; Hussein Al-Tahan, governor of Baghdad; Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of Multi-National Division – Baghdad and the 4th Infantry Division; Maj. Gen. Michael Eyre, commander of Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Rear Adm. Kathleen Dussault, commander of Joint Contracting Command – Iraq/Afghanistan; and John Bass, team leader of Provincial Reconstruction Team – Baghdad.
“Today we’re signing an agreement to set forth the procedure between the Iraqi government and the Coalition Forces,” said Al-Kadhimi. “We are going forward to start rebuilding Baghdad and other provinces.”
Hammond, a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., expressed his gratitude to be a part of such an agreement and was clear about the role that U.S. forces will play regarding the MOU.
“This agreement signifies the way ahead where (Chairman Kadhimi and Gov. Tahan), under their leadership, are taking charge of the reconstruction, and we are in a support role,” said Hammond. “My pledge is that we will fulfill every element of this agreement; we will support it at all times. We’re proud to be part of the solution here.”
The agreement was an important step forward in the continued reconstruction efforts that are ongoing in the city of Baghdad and the surrounding province.
“It’s an important agreement because it governs the way that we plan, prepare, execute and also coordinate the range of products that we assist with in the reconstruction of Baghdad, both the municipal area of Baghdad city proper as well as across the province,” said Brig. Gen. Robin Swan, a native of Pittsburgh, who serves as a deputy commanding general of MND-B and the 4th Inf. Div.
The MOU is not only about the physical reconstruction of Baghdad and Iraq but also about the continuing efforts to build lasting relationships, said Bass.
“On one level, this agreement is about reconstruction in the physical sense of building infrastructure for the citizens of Iraq. But equally important, it is about reconstructing and building relationships across the Government of Iraq, between the Government of Iraq and its citizens, and between the Government of Iraq and the U.S,” he said.