US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin makes surprise visit to Iraq, Kurdistan Region

Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region  — The United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, made a surprise visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region on Tuesday. During his trip, Austin met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani and Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani to discuss cooperation between the two countries, and the performance of Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga in the fight against terrorism.

In his meeting with Sudani, Austin reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq, expressing the US commitment to supporting the stability, security, and sovereignty of Iraq. Austin also praised the Iraqi security forces for their efforts in pursuing ISIS militants.

“I’m here to reaffirm the U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership as we move toward a more secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq,” Austin tweeted.

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office released a statement confirming the two leaders discussed consolidating relations between the United States and Iraq and developing partnerships in various fields.

“The US Secretary of Defense reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting the stability of Iraq, consolidating relations between the two countries, and developing partnerships in various fields,” reads a statement from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office.

After his meeting in Baghdad, Austin visited Erbil, where he met with President Barzani. The Kurdistan Region President praised the United States for its support of the region and Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS.

After his meeting in Baghdad, Austin visited Erbil, where he met with President Barzani. Photo: AFP
After his meeting in Baghdad, Austin visited Erbil, where he met with President Barzani. Photo: AFP

“Let me applaud the invaluable contributions to this fight made by the Kurdish Peshmerga as part of Iraq’s security forces,” Austin said in response.

The United States has maintained a military presence in Iraq since the 2003 invasion and has played a key role in the fight against ISIS in the region. Austin’s visit reaffirms the US commitment to supporting Iraq’s stability and security and strengthening the partnership between the two countries.

 

 

 

 

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