CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Army News Service, Dec. 11, 2007) - Sheiks of all tribes, Iraqi Army and police leaders, Iraqi government representatives and leaders from Multi-National Division-Baghdad gathered at an Iraqi Police station in Nassir Wa Salam to discuss bringing the region back to Iraqi government control during the Northwest Baghdad Regional Security Summit last week.

Approximately 1,000 sheiks and local leaders attended the meeting, the second in a series of reconciliation meetings between Sunni and Shia sheiks. Tribal and governmental leadership from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Tarmiyah and Anbar provinces met with senior leaders from the Baghdad provincial government, national government and the Iraqi Security Forces.

Representatives of the prime minister, councilmen, senior Iraqi tribal and military leaders and the national party, Iraq Awakening, recognized the meeting.

"This meeting is a great opportunity to bring together local leaders, tribal leaders and government leaders to speak with the national and provincial government to develop solutions to the problems in the area," said Maj. Geoffrey Norman, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "It affords them the opportunity to exchange dialogue on how to move forward and rid the community of the cancer of extremism."

The gathering focused on developing security sustained by Iraqi security forces supported by the government. This would allow Coalition Forces to shift from direct involvement in security and focus their efforts on establishing essential services headed by embedded provincial reconstruction teams.

"The people of this community and the government have demonstrated their willingness to serve," said Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, commander of 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry. "That's the reason security is the way it is, the people are willing to serve. This is the beginning of unity."

(Spc. Shejal Pulivarti serves with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Office.)