Italian defense minister arrives in Baghdad for talks

Italian defense minister arrives in Baghdad for talks

BAGHDAD  : Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday for an unannounced visit to Iraq.

According to an Iraqi military source, Defense Minister Irfan al-Hayali received his Italian counterpart at the ministry building in Baghdad.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media, told Anadolu Agency that al-Hayali and Pinotti discussed a range of security-related issues.

Cooperation on the training of Iraqi forces — along with Italy’s limited military presence in Iraq — topped the agenda of talks, according to the source, who said that Pinotti was expected to stay in Iraq for two days.

Italy is a member of a U.S.-led international coalition operating in Iraq and Syria to fight the Daesh terrorist group.

Iraq announced late last year that its military — with the coalition’s help — had entirely purged the country of the terrorist presence following months of fighting.

Nevertheless, Iraqi officials still occasionally carry out operations against what they describe as Daesh-linked “sleeper cells” in certain parts of the country.

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