Iraqi leaders meet with US senior official over bilateral ties, political situation

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi leaders on Thursday held meetings with visiting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale over bilateral relations and the political situation in Iraq.

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During a meeting between Iraqi President Barham Salih and Hale at the presidential palace in the capital Baghdad, Salih confirmed that the solutions to the Iraqi situation “should agree with the Iraqi national decision to be away from external interference,” said a statement by the media office of the presidency said.

They discussed the ways to strengthen relations between the two countries and develop prospects of cooperation and coordination, the statement added.

US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller also attended the meeting.

In the second meeting between caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Hale, they discussed Iraq’s and the United States’ vision toward the recent developments in Iraq and the region, according to a statement by the media office of Abdul Mahdi.

Hale also met with Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi over the bilateral relations and joint cooperation that serve the interests of the two countries, according to a statement by al-Halbousi’s media office.

Hale’s visit came amid a political row in Iraq over who should be chosen as a new prime minister to form an interim government ahead of early parliament elections after mass anti-government demonstrations in Baghdad and some Iraqi provinces led to the resignation of Abdul Mahdi and his government.

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