Iraqi prime minister heads to Washington for talks with Trump
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi left Baghdad on an official visit to the United States on Tuesday, his first trip abroad since he took office in May. Al-Kadhimi will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, his office said.
Ministers accompanying him will hold talks with U.S. officials on several issues including security, the economy and health care.
Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as part of the second phase of the U.S.-Iraqi strategic dialogue, which government spokesman Ahmed Mulla Talal said would be based on "mutual interests and non-interference in internal affairs."
In June, the two countries agreed that the U.S. would continue reducing the number of troops stationed in Iraq following the first phase of the dialogue, which was held via videoconference.
Iraqi-U.S. relations faced some tension earlier this year when the Iraqi parliament voted to end the presence of foreign troops that were part of the U.S.-led alliance fighting the Islamic State extremist group.
The vote took place days after a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy head of Iraq's Muslim Shia militia Hashd al-Shaabi, along with several other Iran-allied militiamen.
Al-Kadhimi has vowed to organise paramilitary groups, who have been part of the fight against Islamic State, so they would operate as part of government security bodies. He has faced some pushback in the form of the assassination and kidnapping of prominent figures. (dpa)