Accessibility links

Breaking News

US, Iraq Announce Commitment To Continued Withdrawal Of U.S. Forces From Iraq

US troops stand to attention in front of American and Iraqi (R) flag. May 15, 2020
US troops stand to attention in front of American and Iraqi (R) flag. May 15, 2020

The United States pledged to continue a withdrawal of its troops from Iraq, the two countries said on June 11 in a joint statement.

The pledge came after the two countries held a strategic dialogue and after Iraqi lawmakers demanded that U.S. forces withdraw in the wake of a U.S. drone strike in January that killed a top general from Iran.

The joint statement said the drawdown would take place "in light of significant progress towards eliminating the [Islamic State] threat." It did not provide further details such as figures or a timeline, except to say the withdrawal will take place in the "coming months."

As for the status of remaining forces, the statement said the United States and Iraq would discuss that question "as both countries turn their focus towards developing a bilateral security relationship based on strong mutual interests."

The United States also reiterated that it does not seek a permanent military presence in Iraq. The Iraqi government in turn said it is committed to protecting military personnel that are part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State.

The strategic dialogue was held on June 11 via teleconference as a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An Iraqi delegation led by Senior Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abdul-Karim Hashim Mostafa and a U.S. delegation led by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale participated in the teleconference.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was quoted by the state news agency INA as saying the U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue recognized the Iraqi parliament's vote earlier this year demanding a troop withdrawal.

The United States also discussed providing economic advisers to work with the Iraqi government to help advance international support for Iraq’s reform efforts.

“The two countries recognized the enormous economic challenges facing Iraq in light of the two crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline in oil prices, and on the need for Iraq to enact fundamental economic reforms,” the statement said.

They also reaffirmed the importance of the strategic relationship “and their determination to take appropriate steps to enhance it in the interest of both countries and to achieve security, stability, and prosperity in the region.”

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters