Corker and colleagues urge Obama to discuss security issues with Iraqi PM Maliki

A group of Senators recently called for enhanced relations with Iraq in preparation of the upcoming meeting between President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Washington this week.

Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote a joint letter to Obama urging him to discuss a number of topics with Maliki when he arrives in Washington, including collaborating on counterterrorism efforts, concerns about Iranian-Iraqi relations and the need for a stronger democratic governance within the nation.

"We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Iraq," the Senators said in the letter. "As Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visits Washington this week, we urge you to press him to formulate a comprehensive political and security strategy that can stabilize the country, enable Iraq to realize its vast potential, and help to safeguard our nation's enduring national security interests in Iraq."

The Senators said a strong U.S.-Iraq relationship while Iraq works to stabilize its nation would benefit both countries.

"We believe the Prime Minister's visit is an important opportunity to reengage with the American people about the continuing strategic importance of Iraq," the Senators said in the letter. "Though the war in Iraq is over, Americans need to understand that the United States has an enduring national security interest in the development of a sovereign, stable, and democratic Iraq that can secure its own citizens and territory, sustain its own economic growth, resolve its own internal disputes through inclusive and pluralistic politics, and cooperate as a strategic partner of the United States-a vision of our relationship that was best expressed in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement."