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US foreign policy

Biden to meet Iraq’s al-Kadhimi at the White House on July 26: Statement

Published: Updated:

President Joe Biden will welcome Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the White House this month, his office said Friday.

The July 26 meeting will “highlight the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq,” the White House said in a statement.

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Kadhimi and US envoy Brett McGurk discussed the withdrawal of troops from Iraq Thursday in Baghdad.

Some 3,500 foreign troops are still on Iraqi territory, including 2,500 Americans, who have been posted to help fight ISIS since 2014.

In Washington, Kadhimi is expected to push for a concrete timetable of American troop withdrawal. The implementation of their departure could take years.

Iraq, long an arena for bitter rivalry between the US and Iran despite their shared enmity towards ISIS, has seen growing numbers of rocket and drone attacks on American targets in recent months.

Kadhimi’s meeting with McGurk came a little more than a week after 14 rockets were fired at the Ain al-Assad air base, which hosts American troops in western Iraq, and three others which landed near the US embassy in Baghdad.

They were the latest in a spate of attacks targeting US military and diplomatic facilities in Iraq. The attacks have been blamed on pro-Iranian armed groups within a state-sponsored paramilitary force.

Last month, the US launched air strikes against pro-Iranian militias along the Iraq-Syria border.

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