The US has agreed to reduce its forces in Iraq during the coming months, said a joint statement issued by the two governments on Friday.
The joint statement was released at the end of the strategic dialogue held between the two countries via video conferencing on Thursday.
“The US will also continue to hold dialogue with the Baghdad government on the status of the remaining forces,” the statement said.
The move comes in the light of developing bilateral security relations based on mutual interests.
The agreement, however, did not disclose details regarding the number of troops that will be reduced and the period required to implement the withdrawal.
According to the statement, the US asserted it does not seek or demand permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq, as was agreed in the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries.
The Iraqi government, for its part, pledged to “protect the military forces of the international coalition and the Iraqi facilities that host them.”
The US affirmed its support for Iraq, its new government, and committed assistance in implementing its reform program in a manner that meets the aspirations of the people.
It will also provide economic advisors to Baghdad to work directly with the government.
For his part, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi said that “the American withdrawal from Iraq has been confirmed to all who are present and that there are no rules.”
He confirmed to the official Iraq News Agency “the strategic dialogue between the two countries was in line with the parliament’s decision to withdraw the US [forces].”
In late 2011, US troops left Iraq completely, after eight years of occupation following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.
With the emergence of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group, US forces returned to Iraq in 2014. As many as 5,000 American soldiers were deployed in military bases across Iraq as part of the US-led international coalition to fight terrorists.
There are no recent statistics about the forces currently present in Iraq.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
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