France’s Macron says meeting with Iraqi president to discuss country’s sovereignty

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron met with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih on Wednesday in the Salam Palace in Baghdad to discuss the country’s sovereignty, state news media reported.

The French President had arrived in the capital earlier on Wednesday for his first official visit since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi ascended to power.

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Iraq should not be a battleground for conflict between other countries, Iraqi President Salih said during a joint press conference with Macron.

“We are here for and we will continue to support Iraq,” Macron said at the news conference.

Macron on Twitter said that his visit to Iraq is aimed at helping guarantee Iraq’s security and economic sovereignty inside and outside of country.

There are many challenges that exist when it comes to ensuring the sovereignty of Iraq within its border and in the region, he added.

“Our collective security and regional stability are at stake. Our soldiers are fighting side by side to ensure the final defeat of the [extremists],” the French president said.

Macron is the most senior foreign official to travel to Iraq since the head of the country’s intelligence al-Kadhimi became prime minister in May.

Earlier this week, the French president had traveled to Beirut for his second visit since the deadly August 4 that killed about 190 people and spurred international outcry for political reform.

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