US President Biden meets Iraqi PM, agrees to strengthen coordination on ISIS issue

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US President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday ahead of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, Biden and al-Kadhimi agreed on strengthening security and military institutions in Iraq and voiced the importance of combating corruption and supporting Iraq’s economy, according to a joint statement.

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Biden also reaffirmed the significance of a “stable and unified Iraq which includes the Kurdistan region,” and said a “strong Iraq” is an essential factor to achieve stability in the region.

Highlighting the strong partnership between the two countries, Biden and al-Kadhimi agreed on strengthening security coordination to prevent the resurgence of ISIS in Iraq.

During the meeting which also tackled Iraq’s political situation that is currently mired by political disagreements among parties hindering the parliament from electing a president and forming a government, the two leaders voiced the importance of forming a new Iraqi government that meets the expectations of the Iraqi people.

Prior to their meeting, Biden reaffirmed he wanted to support Iraq’s democracy, saying “I want the press and you to know we want to be (as) helpful as we can in doing that.”

Al-Kadhimi spoke about the “strategic, friendly relationship” between the US and Iraq, and he thanked the US for providing support to combat terrorist groups.

An estimated 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq to support the country’s fight against ISIS.

Biden is in Jeddah attending a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The leaders of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan are also attending.

Al-Kadhimi, who arrived in Jeddah on Friday, told Al Arabiya that he was participating in the GCC+3 summit to “reaffirm Iraq’s significant role in the region.”

He added that he will discuss several issues, primarily economy, during the meeting.

With the Associated Press

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