BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb 13 (NNN-NINA) – Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, on Tuesday met with acting U.S. Secretary of Defence, Patrick Shanahan, in Baghdad, and expressed the rejection to any permanent foreign military bases on Iraqi territory.
Abdul Mahdi’s comment came, during a meeting with Shanahan in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the two sides discussed “the development of relations between the two countries, the war against terrorism and developments in the region,” a statement by Abdul Mahdi’s media office said, after the meeting.
Abdul Mahdi confirmed that relations between the two countries “must abide by the basic agreements,” asserting that, his country “will not accept any foreign bases on Iraqi territory,” according to the statement.
The prime minister also said, “The Iraqi decision is independent and is not affected by any influence or dictates from any party,” the statement said.
For his part, Shanahan expressed “his country’s pride in the relations of cooperation with Iraq and satisfaction with its security and stability.”
He confirmed that “the task of the U.S. forces is to combat Daesh, train and support the Iraqi forces, to eliminate the remnants of the Daesh.”
Earlier in the day, the acting Pentagon chief arrived in the Iraqi capital, on an unannounced visit, with the aim of meeting with Iraqi officials and visiting U.S. troops stationed in the country.
Foreign media reports said, the goal of Shanahan visit to Iraq was to consult with American military commanders and Iraqi government leaders, on the future U.S. troop presence in the country.
“I want to hear first-hand from them about concerns, the political dynamics that they are facing and then, based on that, we will obviously factor that into our planning,” Shanahan told reporters.
Shanahan was also scheduled to discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria with U.S. commanders, the media reports said.
Over 5,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq, to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the extremist militants, mainly providing training and advise to the Iraqi forces.– NNN-NINA