Baghdad, Feb 18 (IANS) Iraqi President Barham Salih has said the elimination of terrorism requires an international commitment to support the affected countries, and their reconstruction.
A statement by his office on Sunday said that Salih’s comments came as he received in his office in Baghdad the US Army General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command, and his accompanying delegation, Xinhua reported.
“The elimination of terrorism once and for all requires cooperation and commitment by the international community in supporting and shoring up the affected countries and their reconstruction,” the statement said.
During the meeting, Salih highlighted the importance of developing security and military cooperation between Iraq and the US, as well as discussing the “US contribution to arming and improving the military capabilities of the Iraqi security forces”, the statement added.
For his part, Votel renewed his country’s commitment to supporting Iraq and developing the capability of the Iraqi security forces, by training and arming them, the statement said.
The two sides confirmed in the meeting that the presence of any forces as support to face terrorism is at the invitation of the Iraqi government and within the agreed goals by the two sides, it added.
Votel also held a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who is also Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, and the two discussed cooperation in the war against the Islamic State group, as well as the training of Iraqi forces, according to a statement issued by Abdul Mahdi’s office.
They also discussed the “Iraqi government’s intentions to enhance security and stability and the reconstruction of liberated cities, in addition to efforts to eliminate the Islamic State group’s remnants in Syria,” the statement added.
Earlier, some media reports said that Votel was expected to discuss with officials in Baghdad the impact of the US withdrawal from Syria on Iraq, where the extremist IS militants have already started tactics of guerrilla warfare after losing its strongholds in the country.
Over 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Iraq to support the Iraqi forces in the battles against the IS militants, mainly by providing training and advising to the Iraqi forces.
The troops were part of the US-led international coalition that has also been conducting air raids against IS targets in both Iraq and Syria.