Such a statement from Department of State on Iraq will make US ‘officially an occupying force’ according to Iraqi MP
The United States has rejected Iraq’s call to pull American forces out of the Arab country, claiming that their presence was “appropriate.”
In a telephone conversation late Thursday, Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi asked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “send delegates to put in place the tools to carry out the parliament’s decision.”
Last week, Iraq’s parliament approved a resolution that called for the expulsion of all foreign forces from Iraq.
However, the State Department said in a statement on Friday that Washington would not hold discussions with Baghdad regarding US troop withdrawal.
“At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
“There does, however, need to be a conversation between the US and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership,” she added.
Separately on Friday, Pompeo indicated that American troops would remain in Iraq.
Speaking at the White House, he said a NATO team was at the State Department working on a plan “to get burden-sharing right in the region, as well, so that we can continue the important missions to protect and defend, and keep the American people safe” while reducing costs and burdens borne by the US.
On January 5, the Iraqi parliament voted to obligate the Iraqi government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil.”