Iraqi PM backs indefinite US troop presence in country: Report
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed al-Sudani defended the presence of US troops in his country and set no timetable for their withdrawal, underlining the need for support against the Islamic State (IS) group.
Sudani, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Sunday, said that US and Nato troop contingents that train and assist Iraqi units in countering the IS group, while largely staying out of combat, are still needed.
"Elimination of ISIS needs some more time," he said in the interview, using an alternate name for the IS group.
Sudani, who took office last October, told the newspaper that he planned to send a high-level delegation to Washington for talks with US officials next month, adding that Iraq would like similar relations with Washington to those enjoyed by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil and gas producers.
"I don’t see this as an impossible matter, to see Iraq have a good relationship with Iran and the US," he said.
Despite holding the world’s 12th-largest proven gas reserves, Iraq depends on Iran for about 40 percent of its power supplies, mainly gas imports.
Iraq flares most of the gas that it could capture extracting oil because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel or export it.