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US to continue reducing military forces in Iraq - Washington News

Washington, June 12 (IANS) The US will continue reducing its military presence in Iraq over the coming months, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries.

by IANS | Updated Jun 12, 2020 05:27 AM

US to continue reducing military forces in Iraq - Washington News

Washington, June 12 (IANS) The US will continue reducing its military presence in Iraq over the coming months, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries.

The two countries will also discuss the status of remaining forces in the months ahead, said the statement issued following the US-Iraq strategic dialogue held virtually on Thursday.

US Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, who participated in the dialogue, told reporters that Washington was considering a possible force reduction but emphasized that there was no discussion of the timeline for it, reports Xinhua news agency.

The statement reiterated that the US does not seek permanent bases and military presence in the country.

For its part, the Iraqi government is committed to protecting the military personnel of the international coalition and the Iraqi facilities hosting them.

US-Iraq relations have been under strain since January 3 when an American airstrike killed Qasem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, near the Baghdad airport.

Two days after the airstrike, the Iraqi Parliament passed a resolution requiring the government to end the presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

The military bases housing American troops across Iraq and other US facilities have been frequently targeted by mortar and rocket attacks.

More than 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the Islamic State militants.

--IANS

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