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Saudi Arabia supports US troops' presence in Iraq

Saudi Arabia supports US troops' presence in Iraq
Earlier this month, Iraqi parliament voted to end military presence of all foreign troops in the country, including US

By Suheir Alkharraz

ISTANBUL (AA) - Saudi Arabia expressed its support for the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq.

The departure of U.S. forces from Iraq "will make the region to become less safe," Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told CNN late Monday.

He stressed that the U.S. presence in the region played an important role in defeating the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group, and it was key to preventing the resurgence of terrorist groups in the region.

The Iraqi parliament decided Jan. 5 to end the military presence of all foreign troops in the country, including the U.S.

On Jan. 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to demand the U.S. to send a delegation to Iraq to establish a mechanism to withdraw its forces from Iraq.

The State Department responded, saying any delegation sent to Iraq "would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership -- not to discuss troop withdrawal."

Around 5,000 U.S. soldiers are deployed in different military bases across Iraq.

The top Saudi diplomat also said: "The U.S. has proven again that it is a reliable ally to the Kingdom and this is also the case with the Trump administration.”

"We are doing well with President Trump, the [U.S.] Department of State and the Pentagon, and we are coordinating on security issues in the region," he added.

On the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a U.S. drone airstrike, bin Farhan said that the U.S. acted out of "legitimate self-defense."

He also confirmed that he agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the region had become "safer" after Soleimani's death.

*Bassel Ibrahim contributed to this report from Ankara.

source: News Feed
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