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Sunday, March 26, 2023

US Defense Chief Makes Unannounced Iraq Visit

https://ift.tt/8BAL097. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced visit Tuesday to Iraq, two weeks ahead of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion that knocked President Saddam Hussein from power. 

“I’m here to reaffirm the U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership as we move toward a more secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq,” Austin tweeted upon his arrival. 

The United States has about 2,500 troops in Iraq with a mission to advise and assist Iraqi troops in the fight against Islamic State militants. 

A senior U.S. defense official told reporters that Austin would express a commitment to “retaining our force presence.” The official said the United States is also “broadly interested in a strategic partnership with the government of Iraq.” 


Austin’s visit follows one last week by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who pledged “deep solidarity with the Iraqi people and my hope that Iraq will face a future of peace and prosperity and with consolidated democratic institutions.” 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

Author webdesk@voanews.com (VOA News)
Source : VOA


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