New U.S. administration to continue bilateral talks with Baghdad

March 24, 2021
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The new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is set to resume bilateral talks with the Iraqi government, including a deal on the future presence of U.S. troops in the crisis-hit country.

The so-called strategic dialogue began in June under former president Donald Trump.

“We look forward to renewing our Strategic Dialogue with the Government of Iraq over the month of April,’’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The talks would address Baghdad and Washington’s mutual interests across a range of issues such as culture, trade, and climate.

She added that the meetings would also “further clarify that coalition forces are in Iraq solely for the purpose of training and advising Iraqi forces to ensure that ISIS cannot reconstitute.’’

The U.S. has been leading an anti-Islamic State coalition cracking down on extremism in the country.

The use of U.S. troops in the region has been met with controversy, with Iraqi parties and militias closely linked to Iran calling for their withdrawal.

While Iraq announced victory against the terror group in 2017, Islamic State extremists remain active across the country.

Under Trump, the U.S. had reduced troop levels in Iraq.

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