BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – The U.S. is willing to discuss “recommitting to strategic partnership” with Iraq but not a troop withdrawal, the U.S. State Department announced, after the country’s prime minister told Washington to “prepare a mechanism” for pull back.
In a statement on Friday, the State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that the U.S. military presence in Iraq was ‘appropriate’ and that any delegation the U.S. might send to Iraq to discuss arrangements between the two countries would not discuss the removal of troops, RT reported.
Ortagus acknowledged that there does “need to be a conversation” between U.S. and Iraqi officials, “not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership”.
Earlier Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to send a delegation to begin preparations for a troop pullout.
The Iraqi parliament last week passed a non-binding resolution asking the government to expel foreign troops and to cancel the ongoing request for military assistance from the U.S.-led coalition.
There are currently 5,200 US troops stationed at bases across Iraq, with most of the soldiers deployed at two major bases, including ‘Ayn Al-Assad, which was targeted by the Iranian Armed Forces.
Sources: RT, Fars