News ID: 264149
Published: 0140 GMT January 10, 2020

Iraqi PM tells US to decide mechanism for troop withdrawal

Iraqi PM tells US to decide mechanism for troop withdrawal

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has told the US secretary of state to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating a mechanism for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, according to a statement released Friday.

The statement, from the office of the Iraqi caretaker prime minister, said the request came in a telephone call between Abdul-Mahdi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night. It says Pompeo called the Iraqi premier, according to AP.

Abdul-Mahdi’s comments to Pompeo suggests he was standing by his previous statements that US troops should leave Iraq despite recent signals toward de-escalation between Tehran and Washington following the tit-for-tat attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of a proxy war.

Tensions eased on Wednesday when President Donald Trump signaled that Washington was stepping away from escalation.

The Iraqi prime minister said his country rejects all violations against its sovereignty, including America’s violation of Iraq’s airspace in the airstrike that killed a top Iranian general last week.

The Iraqi leader asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament’s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,” the statement said.

“The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements,” the statement added.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim also stressed the need for US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq as a backlash grows over the recent American assassination of the top Iranian general, Press TV reported.

The top Iraqi diplomat made the appeal during a joint press briefing with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Baghdad on Thursday.

Hakim and Cavusoglu strongly condemned the US assassination of Iran’s Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both key figures in the fight against Daesh and other Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East. 

“Iraq insists on maintaining its sovereignty and territorial integrity and the complete withdrawal of foreign forces,” the top Iraqi diplomat said.

He added that talks with his Turkish counterpart focused on the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty from all sides.

Hakim added, "We have discussed with the minister that Iraq wants all foreign forces are removed out of the country through dialogue. We also discussed with the minister on cooperation areas. We have agreed to alleviate the Iran-US tension in the region."

Top American military officials including Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper have said there were no plans for the US to withdraw from Iraq.

Iraqi lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution to oust US troops following the strike that killed top Iranian general last Friday.



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