Iraq, U.S. affirm commitment to U.S. troop withdrawal: state media


FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is pictured at the prime minister’s office in Baghdad, Iraq, June 4, 2020. Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via REUTERS

CAIRO (Reuters) – Iraq and the United States have affirmed their commitment to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq without giving a timeline, state news agency INA said on Friday, citing Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Iraq’s parliament had voted earlier this year for the departure of foreign troops from Iraq, and U.S. and other coalition troops have been leaving as part of a drawdown.

Al-Kadhimi said the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue recognised the Iraqi parliament’s decision on the U.S. withdrawal, INA reported with no further details.

It was unclear whether that would include military trainers which most parties, including some backed by regional heavyweight Iran, have said would be acceptable to remain in Iraq.

In a joint statement on the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, Washington said it would continue reducing forces and discuss with the Iraqi government the status of the remaining forces, stressing it does not seek permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq.

The United States also discussed providing economic advisors to work directly with the Iraqi government to help advance international support for Iraq’s reform efforts, in light of the consequences of coronavirus pandemic and the decline in oil prices, the joint statement added.

Reporting by Samar Hassan and John Davison; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Lincoln Feast.

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