DC visit 'on the table'

Security advisor to Iraqi PM addresses US ties

BAGHDAD — A visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani to Washington remains on the table, despite recent delays, according to security advisor Khaled Al-Yaqoubi

In an interview with Al-Iraqiya’s Kareem Hamadi, Al-Yaqoubi addressed ongoing discussions between Iraq and the U.S. on various issues, including the planned withdrawal of coalition forces and invitations for Al-Sudani to visit the U.S. capital.

He said that Vice President Kamala Harris’s invitation was not unprecedented as it was preceded by similar invites from the U.S.’s national security chief. Al-Yaqoubi emphasized that Al-Sudani’s inability to travel to the U.S. was due to scheduling conflicts and not indicative of a rift between the two governments.

He added that Al-Sudani remained determined to proceed with plans to end the coalition’s presence in Iraq, acknowleding the process as complex and not possible “at the push of a button.”

Regarding the Munich Security Conference, Al-Yaqoubi highlighted the impact of the Gaza crisis on discussions, noting Al-Sudani’s warnings about its potential to destabilize the region.

He also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining strong Iraq-U.S. relations, citing a recent joint statement outlining the Iraqi government’s perspective on the withdrawal and future security partnership following Al-Sudani’s meeting with Harris on the sidelines of the security conference.

The statement detailed the Iraqi government’s rationale for ending the international coalition’s military presence and shifting towards a sustainable bilateral security relationship.

Al-Yaqoubi further emphasized that diplomatic discussions with the U.S. continue, characterized by a focus on technical aspects of the withdrawal and avoiding undue pressure. He acknowledged historical complexities surrounding U.S. military presence, noting the 2011 withdrawal and subsequent return due to the ISIS threat. He reiterated the Iraqi government’s commitment to fulfilling its constitutional obligations and ensuring national sovereignty by removing foreign military bases.

On the military front, Al-Yaqoubi reported progress in dialogue with the coalition, albeit delayed initially. Recent meetings have focused on the ISIS threat, operational conditions, and Iraqi military capabilities. These discussions aim to inform political leaders’ decisions on Iraq’s future security landscape and international partnerships.

Iraqi prime minister meets US vice president amid tensions

Iraqi prime minister meets US vice president amid tensions