BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi President Barham Salih met U.S. President Donald Trump in Davos on Wednesday and discussed reducing foreign troops in the country, the Iraqi presidency said, after Washington spurned an Iraqi request earlier this month to pull out its troops.
“During the meeting, reducing foreign troops and the importance of respecting the demands of Iraqi people to preserve the country’s sovereignty were discussed,” the statement said.
Iraq’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution on Jan. 5 requesting the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq following U.S. air strikes that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
The killing of Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. forces, has highlighted the influence of foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Washington to prepare for a U.S. troop withdrawal in line with Iraq’s parliament decision, but Trump’s administration rebuffed the request.
Washington said later it was exploring a possible expansion of NATO’s mission in Iraq, a plan to “get burden-sharing right in the region”.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Alison Williams and Philippa Fletcher)
Photo: © Reuters/The Presidency of the Republic o U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Iraq’s President Barham Salih during the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos