The U.S. and Iraq held a Strategic Dialogue covering “security and counterterrorism, economics and energy, political issues and cultural relations”. According to a joint statement, “the two countries recognised that in light of significant progress towards eliminating the ISIS threat, over the coming months the U.S. would continue reducing forces from Iraq and discuss with the government of Iraq the status of remaining forces”. Additionally, “the U.S. reiterated that it does not seek nor request permanent bases or a permanent military presence in Iraq… The government of Iraq committed to protecting the military personnel of the International Coalition and the Iraqi facilities hosting them”. A senior U.S. official subsequently noted that “there remains a significant problem of armed groups, militia, Iranian-backed militia in the country, that operate outside the control of the government of Iraq… Our understanding, based on our initial engagements with the al-Kadhimi government, suggests that they are committed to demonstrating – re-establishing sovereignty, exercising control of these – of rogue militias, and having a unified security service in the country”. “Pro-Iranian militias, Iranian-Shiite militias, remain a significant problem and challenge for the Kadhimi government”, he underscored.
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