U.S. and Iraq begin talks on American troop presence as militant threat grows
The killing of Soleimani by an American drone on Iraqi territory had plunged the U.S.-Iraqi relationship to its lowest ebb in years. But relations have improved since the selection last month of a new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi. As the country’s former intelligence chief, Kadhimi has good relations with U.S. officials but emphasizes his desire to wrest back sovereignty from foreign powers.
“The main principle in these dialogues is to put Iraqi sovereignty first,” he said in a news conference Thursday. “We don’t want Iraq to become a conflict arena. We want Baghdad to be a city of peace.”
Travel restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus forced Thursday’s participants to trade a planned two-day meeting for a two-hour Zoom call instead. Discussions on the substantive issues also are ongoing outside of the highly choreographed, formal discussions, officials say.
The U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue, as the process is called, is likely to last months and will address issues including how the United States can help Iraq gain access to international financial …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]