Defense Ties Part of US-Iraq Discussions Next Week, Says US official

Fri Apr 12 2024
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WASHINGTON: The defence and security relationship between Iraq and the United States will be an important part of discussion when Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani visits the US next week, said a senior State Department official on Thursday.

The official, who briefed journalists on condition of anonymity, said the focus of Sudani’s visit would be economic relationship, even though Washington and Baghdad are in talks over ending the mission of the US-led military coalition in Iraq.

US forces and Shiite armed groups have been attacking each other in recent months amid Israel’s war in Gaza. Sudani in January announced his intention to end the US military presence in Iraq.

The senior State Department official said the defence and security ties will be part of the talks when Sudani will meet with President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

He said the visit will mainly focus on the economy and issues such as education, environment and US support for development of Iraq.

The US invaded Iraq in 2003 to end Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial rule and withdrew from the country in 2011.

Washington and Baghdad started talks in January to reevaluate the presence of the US-led military coalition over there.

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