U.S. says ‘strong KRG’ is essential to Iraq’s long-term stability

State Department spokesman Ned Price takes questions from reporters at the State Department in Washington, March 31, 2021. (AP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States believes a “strong” Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is “essential” to Iraq’s stability, spokesman of the U.S. State Department Ned Price said on Monday.

Ned Price said in a press conference that the United States supports continued efforts by federal government and the KRG to resolve any remaining issues between Baghdad and Erbil.

“We believe that a strong KRG within a unified and federal Iraq is essential to Iraq’s long-term stability and to the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Price briefed reported.

“And so I expect we’ll be discussing that more in the coming days,” he said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is scheduled to visit the United States and meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on July 26.

The visit will highlight the strategic partnership between Iraq and the United States and advance bilateral cooperation under a 2008 agreement that governed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Saturday.

Iraq and the United States began their strategic dialogue in June 2020 under former U.S. President Donald Trump administration.

“We have made very clear that we support a stable, prosperous, democratic, and unified Iraq. The Strategic Framework Agreement remains the foundation of that bilateral relationship,” Price said.

In the third round of talks in April, the United States agreed to remove remaining combat forces deployed to fight Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq.

Efforts to continue the strategic dialogue come as U.S. forces stationed in Iraq come under continued rocket and drone attacks.

The attacks have increased since the United States carried out airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups last month.

Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after U.S. strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members.

The United States told the U.N. Security Council that it targeted Iranian-backed militia in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to deter them and Tehran from conducting or supporting further attacks on U.S. personnel or facilities.

Iran denied supporting attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria and condemned U.S. air strikes on Iranian-backed groups.

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