Maas: Iraqi Prime Minister wants German troops to stay

Maas: Iraqi Prime Minister wants German troops to stay
# 15 January 2020 20:04 (UTC +04:00)

The Iraqi prime minister wants Germany to keep its troops but the Iraqi parliament’s vote to expel all foreign forces cannot be ignored, the German foreign minister said Wednesday, APA reports citing Sputnik.

Heiko Maas told the German legislature that his diplomats and government officials spent the past several days in talks with the Iraqi authorities in an effort to convince them to let troops stay.

"The prime minister [Adel Abdul Mahdi] has confirmed that Baghdad is very interested in continued international engagement and spoke to us in favour of keeping German armed forces in Iraq," he said.

He added that the Iraqi parliament’s resolution calling on the government to end foreign presence "is not something you can get around." In his words, Baghdad needs to figure this out with the lawmakers.

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer travelled to Baghdad on Wednesday where she made a case for keeping German troops training Iraqi Kurdish forces at the northern Erbil base.

"They are highly respected and want to continue their work … I advocated for this during political talks here in Iraq today," she said in a video posted by her ministry.

She said the German military wanted to stay in Iraq given that the Iraqi government stood by the pact that allows foreign boots on the ground.

The Iraqi parliament’s vote came shortly after the US killing of top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani during his visit to Baghdad earlier in January. Iran responded by firing missiles at two Iraqi bases hosting soldiers from the United States and its allies. No one was hurt.