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Trump to Meet Iraqi PM this Month

Trump to Meet Iraqi PM this Month

Saturday, 8 August, 2020 - 05:00
US President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, US, August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Washington later this month, the White House said Friday, highlighting a turn-around in relations since the premier came to power.

The White House said the August 20 visit comes at a "critical time" in the fight against ISIS and the myriad of problems posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

"As close partners, the United States and Iraq will look to expand our relations," the White House added.

Tensions skyrocketed following a US strike on Baghdad in January that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and prompted Iraqi lawmakers to demand the expulsion of the roughly 5,200 US troops in the country.

The hostility has calmed substantially since Kadhimi took the reins as Iraq's premier in May.

A Washington invite was the type of diplomatic olive branch never received by Kadhimi's predecessor Adel Abdel Mahdi, who was forced to resign by months of protests.

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