Biden to meet Iraqi PM in Washington on July 26

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The visit will highlight the strategic partnership between the two countries and advance bilateral cooperation…reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden will host Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House on July 26, the White House said.

The visit will highlight the strategic partnership between the two countries and advance bilateral cooperation under a 2008 agreement that governed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Psaki listed areas of shared interest such as energy and health and said Biden looked forward to strengthening cooperation with Iraq on “security issues to include joint efforts to ensure the enduring defeat” of the Islamic State militant group.

Psaki made no reference to Iran, which exercises influence in neighboring Iraq through its close relations with the Baghdad government and by backing Shi’ite militia forces that mount attacks on military facilities hosting U.S. forces.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shi’ite militias to step up attacks on U.S. targets during a meeting in Baghdad last week, three militia sources and two Iraqi security sources familiar with the gathering said.

The meeting comes even as there has been an increasing number of attacks on US troops in Iraq. Last week, six Katyusha rockets hit a military air base housing US-led coalition forces in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

Ayn al-Asad Air Base, formerly known as al-Qadisiyah, is located some 190 km northwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The Iraqi military bases housing US troops across Iraq and the American embassy in Baghdad have been frequently targeted by mortar and rocket attacks.

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