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Blinken Confirms US Ready to Develop Ties with Iraq

Blinken Confirms US Ready to Develop Ties with Iraq

Wednesday, 7 April, 2021 - 08:30
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Reuters)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has affirmed the persistent efforts of President Joe Biden’s administration to develop ties with Iraq.

“I am looking forward to speaking to my Iraqi counterpart, Dr. Fuad Hussein, tomorrow (Wednesday) at the US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

“We will review progress in every area of our broad and strategic partnership.”

Last week, the State Department announced its desire for Iraq to end its reliance on Iran, with regard to self-sufficiency in energy, expressing its willingness to strengthen cooperation with Baghdad.

Ned Price, spokesperson for the US State Department, said in a press briefing on Thursday that the US put in the context of its partnership with Iraq agreements that have been concluded in past strategic dialogues.

Both countries will hold a new round of strategic dialogue on Wednesday, in light of the ongoing internal disputes on the presence of US forces in Iraq.

The first round was held in June 2020, while the second took place in August, during Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s visit to Washington.

Baghdad and Washington had earlier agreed to reduce US troops in Iraq. Some 1,000 soldiers of the 3,500 troops present have been withdrawn between 2020 and 2021.

More forces are expected to withdraw soon from Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert and Harir base near Erbil.

The dialogue is facing more pressure from parties opposing the US presence in Iraq, including several Shiite parliamentary blocs, as well as pro-Iran armed factions.

Commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Esmail Qaani concluded on Tuesday an unannounced two-day visit to Baghdad.

During his visit, Qaani met with several officials and senior political figures, as well as leaders of political parties and blocs.

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