Trump, Iraqi president agree on continued US presence in Mideast country

US President Donald Trump meets Iraq's President Barham Salih. The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office / Handout via Reuters

US President Donald Trump and his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih agreed at a meeting on Wednesday on the need for a continued US military role in the country, the White House said.

The meeting in Davos, Switzerland was the first since tensions erupted over the US killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad, sparking an Iraqi parliament call for expulsion of US troops.

“The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing the United States-Iraq economic and security partnership, including the fight against ISIS,” the White House said in a statement.

“President Trump reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to a sovereign, stable, and prosperous Iraq.”

On the Afghani front, Trump told his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani that he wants to see a “significant” drop in violence by Taliban guerrillas before “meaningful” negotiations can happen.

“President Trump reiterated the need for a significant and lasting reduction in violence by the Taliban that would facilitate meaningful negotiations on Afghanistan’s future”, the White House said.

The main Taliban group has been negotiating with Washington for more than a year over the withdrawal of US troops in exchange for security guarantees from the militants that could pave the way to intra-Afghan peace talks.

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