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US not to discuss troop pullout from Iraq

Iraq can resolve Kurdistan issues

FILE – In this July 18, 2017 file photo, Shiite Volunteer fighters from the Imam Ali Brigade, an armed faction with the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, train at their camp, in Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq. When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad earlier this month as tensions were mounting between the U.S. and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil, File)

WASHINGTON, Jan 11, (KUNA): The continued US military presence in Iraq is to maintain the fight against the Islamic State group, the State Department said on Friday. “We have been unambiguous regarding how crucial our ISIS mission is in Iraq,” spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” he added.

The US also plans to hold talks with Iraqi officials about the “financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership” between both, mentioned the official. Furthermore, NATO plans to increase its role in Iraq in accordance with President Donald Trump’s repeated calls for defensive burden-sharing, according to the Ortagus.

On Sunday, the Iraqi parliament voted on a bill demanding the immediate withdrawal of foreign forces from the country in the aftermath of the recent US air strike on Iraqi soil that killed Iran’s senior military commander Qassem Souleimani. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdulmahdi affirmed the opportunity to resolve all issues with Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. Abdulmahdi made the remarks during his meeting with Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, and published in a statement by Kurdistan Regional Government on Saturday.

On his part, Barzani underlined the need to implement articles of the previously signed agreements between the two sides to resolve the issues. He added that the threat of the socalled Islamic State (IS) is still affecting Iraq’s security and stability, calling for further coordination between the two sides on the matter, along with the support of the international coalition

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