Iraqi president, Trump meet in Davos, discuss foreign troops cut

US President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (AP)

Iraqi President Barham Salih met US President Donald Trump in Davos on Wednesday and discussed reducing foreign troops in the country, the Iraqi presidency said, after Washington spurned an Iraqi request earlier this month to pull out its troops.

“During the meeting, reducing foreign troops and the importance of respecting the demands of Iraqi people to preserve the country’s sovereignty were discussed,” the statement said.

The White House also issued a statement saying that President Trump and his Iraqi counterpart agreed during their meeting on Wednesday on the need for a continued US military role in the country.

“The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing the United States-Iraq economic and security partnership, including the fight against ISIS,” the White House said. “President Trump reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq.”

Iraq’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution on Jan. 5 requesting the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq following US air strikes that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The killing of Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing US forces, has highlighted the influence of foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi asked Washington to prepare for a US troop withdrawal in line with Iraq’s parliament decision, but Trump’s administration rebuffed the request.

Washington said later it was exploring a possible expansion of NATO’s mission in Iraq, a plan to “get burden-sharing right in the region.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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