Iraqi, U.S. military officials meet in Baghdad to discuss plan to implement outcome of strategic dialogue

The senior Iraqi technical committee led by deputy commander of Joint Operations Command Abd al-Amir al-Shammari meets with a U.S. military delegation headed by Lt. General Paul Calvert, commander of the Coalition forces in Baghdad, June 5, 2021. (Iraqi military photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi military officials met with U.S.-led Coalition commanders in the first of a serious of technical talks in Baghdad on Saturday, agreeing on developing a “working plan” to implement the outcome of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue.

The senior Iraqi technical committee led by deputy commander of the Joint Operations Command Abd al-Amir al-Shammari held talks with a U.S. military delegation headed by Lt. General Paul Calvert, commander of the Coalition forces.

It was the first of a serious of security technical talks following the April 7 U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue meeting, began last year under the former U.S. President Donald Trump administration.

“The United States of America affirmed its respect for Iraqi sovereignty and that the U.S.-led Coalition is in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government to advise, assist, and enable the enduring defeat of ISIS,” the Iraqi military said.

“The two sides agreed on a framework for future meetings to discuss the long-term security partnership between the two sovereign nations,” it added.

“They also agreed on developing a working plan to implement the outcome of the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue.”

The military further said the plan would be prepared in the next meeting which will be held in Baghdad or Washington in the coming months.

It should include “specific mechanisms and timings to complete the redeployment of combat forces belonging to the International Coalition from Iraq,” it added.

Coalition Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said in a tweet that the technical talks “represent a natural progression of our ongoing dialogue with the Iraqis, and are in keeping with commitments made during the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue.”

So far, three sessions of strategic talks have been held – in June and August in 2020 and April in 2021.

Among the issues on the agenda laid out ahead of the talks were the presence of U.S. troops in the country, militia groups acting outside of state authority and Iraq’s dire economic crisis.

According to the Pentagon, the number of U.S. troops in Iraq has dropped to about 2,500 over the past months.

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