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US, Iraq Will Hold Strategic Dialogue in April, Says White House

US, Iraq Will Hold Strategic Dialogue in April, Says White House

Wednesday, 24 March, 2021 - 05:15
FILE PHOTO: US soldiers are seen during a handover ceremony of Taji military base from US-led coalition troops to Iraqi security forces, in the base north of Baghdad, Iraq August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

The United States and Iraq will hold a strategic dialogue in April and the meetings will clarify that coalition forces are in Iraq for training and advising Iraqi forces so ISIS militants cannot reconstitute, the White House said on Tuesday.

“This will be an important opportunity to discuss our mutual interests across a range of fields from security to culture, trade, and climate,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“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,” she added.

This came in response to Iraq's formal request to President Joe Biden’s administration calling for setting a date to resume strategic talks on bilateral relations and the withdrawal of remaining US combat forces.

The discussions are meant to shape the future of the US-Iraq relationship, according to The Associated Press.

Relations between the two countries have been fraught with tension, particularly following the US airstrike in January 2020 that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and deputy chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis just outside the Baghdad airport.

Relations have improved since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took over the helm of Iraq’s government in May. But some parties, notably parliament’s Iran-backed Fatah bloc, continue to call for the withdrawal of US forces.

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