U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday.
"Wheels down in Baghdad. I'm here to reaffirm the U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership as we move toward a more secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq," Austin tweeted.
Later, Iraqi Prime Minister Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani received the Pentagon chief, and reaffirmed the government's keenness to strengthen and consolidate relations with the U.S. at various levels and fields, Iraqi News Agency reported.
The Prime Minster also highlighted Baghdad's commitment to maintaining balanced relations with the regional and international powers based on serving common interests and respecting Iraq's sovereignty, the report said.