Ahead of Washington visit, Iraq PM Kadhimi says cooperation with Coalition will continue

Iraq Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (File)

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SULAIMANI — Ahead of a visit to the White House next week, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that his country’s training and cooperative agreements with NATO and the International Coalition will continue, despite pressure on both Baghdad and Washington to withdraw US troops.

Speaking to al-Hadith TV, Kadhimi said that his government is responsible for protecting Iraqi sovereignty along with ensuring the safety of diplomats and foreign troops.

He is expected to travel to Washington for meetings with US President Joe Biden and other senior officials on July 26 to continue the US-Iraq strategic dialogue talks, which began last year under the Trump administration.

A number of groups in Iraq have called for the full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, with some Iranian-backed militias staging harassing attacks in order to force the issue.

Foreign soldiers are in Iraq at Baghdad’s request as part of the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) militants. The US says its soldiers operate in a training and support capacity.

In the interview, Kadhimi also warned about Iraq becoming "a scene for the US-Iranian conflict.”

"It is not in the interest of anyone to have a conflict in Iraq, where it will have very large regional repercussions,” the prime minister said in a post on Facebook recapping the interview.

"We understand Iran's concerns on some issues, as well as the US concerns and we are working to develop mechanisms to establish compatibility between the two countries,” he added.

Kadhimi also emphasized Iraq’s good relations with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Arab world.

(NRT Digital Media)