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US to hold talks with Iraq next month as Baghdad requests to discuss troop withdrawal

Published: Updated:

The United States and Iraq will have another round of Strategic Dialogue next month, the White House said Tuesday, just hours after it was reported that Baghdad requested talks to discuss US troop withdrawals.

“We look forward to renewing our Strategic Dialogue with the Government of Iraq over the month of April,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

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Iraqi officials reportedly delivered a letter to US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller outlining their request to specifically discuss the withdrawal of US troops that are still present in Iraq.

US troops were deployed to Iraq at the Iraqi government's request years ago to help with the fight against Daesh (ISIS).

But as tensions increased between Washington and Tehran, Iran-backed lawmakers in Iraq requested the immediate withdrawal of US troops.

“The meetings will further clarify that coalition forces are in Iraq solely for the purpose of training and advising Iraqi forces to ensure that ISIS cannot reconstitute,” Psaki said on Tuesday, without directly responding to reports of Baghdad’s request.

The first Strategic Dialogue took place under former President Donald Trump to boost and clarify Baghdad and Washington's bilateral ties.

April’s talks will be the first under the Biden administration. “This will be an important opportunity to discuss our mutual interests across a range of fields from security to culture, trade, and climate,” Psaki said.

She added: “The United States is committed first and foremost to Iraq’s sovereignty, and we look forward to these important discussions with Iraqi leaders on the future of our partnership as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement between our two countries.”