Iraqi PM stresses determination to end US-led coalition's presence

Baghdad, Jan 23 (IANS) Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani has said that any attack on Iraqi soil violates its sovereignty, stressing the country’s determination to end the presence of the US-led coalition.

Al-Sudani made the remarks during his meeting with the Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren, whose country is scheduled to assume the presidency of the NATO mission in Iraq in mid-May, according to a statement issued by al-Sudani’s media office on Monday.

The Prime Minister stressed his rejection of any attack on Iraqi territory or any violation of its sovereignty, reiterating “the government’s commitment to protecting diplomatic missions and advisors working in Iraq, as well as assisting the NATO mission in carrying out its tasks agreed upon with the Iraqi government,” the statement said as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

Meanwhile, al-Sudani affirmed “the Iraqi government’s decision to rearrange the relationship with the international coalition” and move from the presence of foreign forces in Iraq to bilateral relations and cooperation with the coalition countries, according to the statement.

For her part, Ollongren confirmed that the Dutch government agrees with al-Sudani’s vision that victory over the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) requires changing the mission of the international coalition and moving it to equal bilateral relations after the development of the Iraqi security forces’ capabilities, according to the statement.

She also confirmed that the Netherlands will assume the leadership of the NATO mission in Iraq in the middle of this year and “will work with the Iraqi government to achieve its new vision”.

The Netherlands is part of the US-led international coalition tasked with training and advising the Iraqi security forces in their fight against the IS.



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