Russain Ambassador to Iraq Elbrus Kutrashev

Russian ambassador says American presence in Iraq is legitimate, but withdrawal would benefit everyone

BAGHDAD, November 7 — The Russian Federation’s ambassador to Baghdad, Elbrus Kutrashev, says the United States should withdraw from Iraq and the region, even though its presence in Iraq is legitimate.

Kutrashev spoke in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and clarified that U.S. presence is lawful since it is at the request of and in cooperation with the Iraqi government, however, a departure from the region would be best. The Ambassador said:

The American presence is by the desire and request of the Iraqi government, which is the decision-maker, and we consider it legitimate as long as it is in accordance with Baghdad’s wishes. There are also Iraqi voices objecting to it. On the other hand, the American presence in Syria is illegitimate because it occurred without the approval of its government, and we view it as an occupation. As a Russian diplomat, I believe that if it were possible to witness the departure of U.S. forces from Iraq and the region, it would be in the best interest of everyone and the region as a whole.