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Iraq, U.S. resume dialogue on ending U.S.-led coalition's mission


 , Updated 08:41, 12-Feb-2024

Iraq and the United States resumed on Sunday a new round of dialogue to discuss ending the U.S.-led international coalition's mission in Iraq, the Iraqi government said.

Iraqi military spokesman Yahya Rasoul said in a statement that the Higher Military Commission (HMC) resumed meetings with the coalition to assess the military situation, the level of threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group and the capabilities of the Iraqi forces.

Rasoul said that based on these meetings, a timetable will be set for the gradual reduction of coalition advisors in Iraq, leading to an end of the coalition mission of fighting the Islamic State and the transition to Iraq's bilateral relations with coalition countries.

In recent weeks, talks of a quick U.S. military withdrawal have gained steam following U.S. strikes targeting Iran-backed militias in Iraq in retaliation to dozens of rocket strikes launched by these groups against U.S. personnel based in the country. 

These tit-for-tat attacks were among many clashes in the Middle East that have broken out after Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7, prompting Israel's military offensive into the Gaza Strip.

The meetings with the coalition will be held periodically to complete the commission work as quickly as possible, as long as nothing disturbs the meetings, Rasoul added.

On January 25, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Iraq agreed with the United States to form the HMC to end the coalition mission in Iraq and move their relationship to comprehensive bilateral relations with the coalition countries at the political, economic, cultural, security and military levels.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: Iraqis gather at the site of a burned vehicle targeted by a U.S. drone strike in east Baghdad, Iraq, February 7, 2024. /CFP)

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