Thursday, October 13, 2016

US supports Iraqi territorial integrity (with presence of Turkish troops as long as Turkey is needed there)

Washington has reiterated its support for Iraq’s territorial sovereignty amid a spat between Turkey and Iraq before an operation on Mosul to liberate it from jihadists. “As we have repeatedly made clear, the United States supports Iraqi unity and sovereignty,” the U.S. State Department said Oct. 11.

“To that end, we believe all international forces in Iraq should be there with the approval of and in coordination with the government of Iraq, under the umbrella of the coalition,” it said.

“It is imperative for all parties to coordinate closely over the coming days and weeks to ensure unity of effort in defeating Daesh and to provide for the lasting security of the Iraqi people,” it added, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The presence of Turkish troops in Iraq has resulted in diplomatic tension between Iraq and Turkey, with the Iraqi parliament sending a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador on Oct. 4 that declared the troops’ presence there to be illegal, after which Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador in Ankara the following day.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi called on Turkey to withdraw troops deployed near the northern city of Mosul and said they would not play a role in the operation to retake it from ISIL.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said during a daily press briefing on Oct. 11 that the operation would be led by Iraq and that it was a matter for Baghdad which forces should be deployed on its sovereign territory.

“The Turkish forces that are deployed in Iraq are not there as part of the international coalition and the situation in Bashiqa is a matter for the governments of Iraq and Turkey to resolve,” he said...


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