Iraqi gov't moving to end U.S.-led coalition presence: PM

(Xinhua) 13:44, December 29, 2023

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani (R) and his visiting Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez attend a joint press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 28, 2023. (Media Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister/Handout via Xinhua)

BAGHDAD, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani said Thursday that his government is moving toward ending the presence of the U.S.-led international coalition in the country.

Al-Sudani made his remarks during a joint press conference with his visiting Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez, who paid an official visit to the country to discuss bilateral relations and some regional issues.

Al-Sudani told reporters that during his meeting with Sanchez, they discussed in detail the status of the international coalition, which Spain is part of.

"We appreciate the role of the coalition in supporting Iraq's efforts to confront the Islamic State militants," said Al-Sudani.

"The Iraqi government is in the process of rearranging the relationship with the international coalition in light of the presence of capable Iraqi forces," said the Iraqi prime minister, stressing that "the Iraqi government is moving toward ending the presence of the international coalition forces, which include security advisers who support the security forces in the areas of training, advice, and intelligence cooperation."

During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to begin joint efforts to conclude a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, al-Sudani said, adding that they also discussed cooperation in the fields of security, culture, environment, and sustainable development.

Al-Sudani pointed out that the Spanish prime minister's visit came amid difficult circumstances taking place in the Middle East, with major attacks in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories. He appreciated Spain's role and "courageous stance in condemning these attacks."

For his part, Sanchez expressed his country's desire to develop relations with Iraq, especially in the fields of transportation, defense, education, and confronting climate change.

The Spanish prime minister also held a meeting with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, during which the two sides discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, as well as the need to stop the attacks and bombing on the Gaza Strip and other Palestinian cities, according to a statement issued by the Presidency office.

Spain is part of the U.S.-led international coalition tasked with training and advising the Iraqi security forces in their fight against the IS group.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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