Iraqi PM demands US plan to pull out troops

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has asked the United States to send a delegation to Iraq to set up a mechanism for troop withdrawal from the country.

The request followed a vote by the Baghdad parliament to expel thousands of US troops, a direct consequence of the drone attack that killed senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and nine companions in Baghdad a week ago. Mr Mahdi made the demand to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call, his office said.

Major General Soleimani’s killing set off a string of events in the region. On Tuesday, Iran retaliated for the death of its revered Quds Force commander by launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two US military bases in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump said the strike caused no American or Iraqi deaths and new sanctions on Iran will be imposed.

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The Iraqi prime minister has repeatedly insisted that US troop withdrawal was the only path toward de-escalation.

In the phone call, Mr Mahdi asked Mr Pompeo “to send representatives to Iraq to put in place a mechanism for implementing the parliament’s decision for the safe withdrawal of forces from Iraq”.

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