Iraq

Labor Secretary Chao sees employment as key to Iraq's stability

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Chao meets Iraqi counterpart Idris Hadi at International Labor Conference

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and Iraqi Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Idris Hadi discussed the state of Iraq's labor market during a meeting on the sidelines of the International Labor Conference in Geneva June 8. Chao said that creating employment is a key to Iraq's successful transition to democracy.

"Increasing employment opportunities is an essential part of enhancing stability in Iraq," Chao said following the meeting with her Iraqi counterpart. The two leaders discussed how Iraq could use training programs to provide workers with skills that would enhance their employment opportunities.

Chao also praised the Iraqi people for their efforts to build a democratic nation and reaffirmed the United States' commitment to supporting the Iraqi government as it works to rebuild the country.

"The Iraqi people are to be lauded for the remarkable progress they have made towards building a constitutional democracy in their country," she said.

Following is the text of an announcement regarding Chao's meeting with Hadi:

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U.S. Department of Labor
www.dol.gov
June 9, 2005

OPA News Release: [06/08/2005]
Contact Name: Dirk Fillpot or Mike Biddle
Phone Number: 202-693-4676
Release Number: 05-1032-NAT

U.S. Secretary of Labor and Iraqi Minister of Labor Meet To Discuss Cooperation to Enhance Employment Opportunities and Training for Iraqi Workers

GENEVA, Switzerland - U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao held a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Idris Hadi at the 93rd International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The two labor leaders discussed how Iraq might enhance employment opportunities through training programs, strengthening the capabilities of the Labor Ministry to serve Iraqi workers, and the provision of continued training to ministry staff.

Secretary Chao also relayed to Minister Hadi the United States' continued strong support for the Iraqi people and for the government's efforts to bring democracy and prosperity to the country.

"The Iraqi people are to be lauded for the remarkable progress they have made towards building a constitutional democracy in their country," Secretary Chao said. "Increasing employment opportunities is an essential part of enhancing stability in Iraq."

The U.S. Department of Labor has provided the Iraqi government technical assistance in developing the country's capacity to meet the needs of job-seeking Iraqi citizens. In July, the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics will train five Iraqi statisticians to measure employment and unemployment.

"The United States will continue to support the Iraqi people and the government's efforts to build a new, democratic Iraq," Secretary Chao said.

Secretary Chao visited Iraq in January 2004 and attended the inauguration of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs' Employment and Training Center in Baghdad. The Center is operated by the restored Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and provides services and benefits to Iraq 's most vulnerable citizens. The Ministry's career professionals administer the private social security pension fund and welfare program, giving the nation's children, elderly, widows and disabled the financial means to survive.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)