US’ Pompeo, Iraqi speaker discuss bilateral cooperation

US’ Pompeo, Iraqi speaker discuss bilateral cooperation

WASHINGTON (Rahnuma) : U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized Washington’s “continued commitment” Thursday to working with Iraq to ensure Daesh is defeated during a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Speaker Mohammed al-Halbusi.

Pompeo “reiterated the United States’ support for a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq, as outlined in our bilateral Strategic Framework Agreement, as well as ongoing U.S. efforts to assist in meeting Iraq’s critical development needs,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

Palladino added that Pompeo emphasized U.S. support for “an Iraq open to the region and the world” during his meeting with al-Halbusi.

The meeting comes, however, amid some strain in ties between Washington and Baghdad after U.S. President Donald Trump said in February American troops stationed in Iraq would be shifting their mission to spying on Iran following the defeat of the Daesh terror group.

U.S. troops had largely been tasked with training and supporting Iraqi security forces during the anti-Daesh campaign, and the declared switch in mission prompted pushback from the Iraqi government over concerns that not only does it exceed the parameters of Baghdad’s invitation to U.S. forces, but could exacerbate tensions with neighboring Iran.

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