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Baghdad, Washington Agree to Reduce US Forces in Ain Al-Assad, Erbil

Baghdad, Washington Agree to Reduce US Forces in Ain Al-Assad, Erbil

Saturday, 18 September, 2021 - 08:15
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 fourth round of meetings of the Joint Technical Committee between Iraq and the United States kicked off in Baghdad on Friday, based on the outcomes of the strategic agreement, which was signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and US President Joe Biden at the White House in July.


The Joint Operations Command of the Iraqi Army said that a security agreement had been signed to reduce the combat units and military forces in each of the two bases of Ain al-Assad in western Iraq’s Anbar province, and Harir in the Kurdistan region near Erbil.


“A meeting was held between the US and Iraqi military committees, within the framework of the technical security talks that were agreed upon in the strategic dialogue and the plan to transition to a non-combat role for the international coalition forces operating in Iraq, according to the outcomes of the meeting held on July 22,” the Command said in a statement.


The two parties reiterated that the presence of US and international coalition forces was “at the invitation of Iraq... in accordance with international laws and norms and in line with Iraqi sovereignty,” it added.


The two sides also agreed, according to the statement, to “hold regular sessions to discuss the remaining steps to secure the transition to a non-combat role for the international coalition forces by the agreed time at the end of the current year.”


The third round of strategic dialogue, which was held in April via video conference, ended with an agreement to “direct the mission of the US and coalition forces to focus on training and advisory tasks, allowing the redeployment of any remaining combat forces from Iraq.”


The two sides decided to set the timing for the entry into force of the agreement during the fourth round of the strategic dialogue.


According to Iraqi sources, about 3,500 foreign soldiers are still present in Iraq, including 2,500 Americans. The process of their withdrawal may take several years to be completed.


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