Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US’ military presence in Iraq should correspond to the stated objectives in the fight against terrorism and should not be used for solving its own tasks, Russia's TASS reported.
This came after negotiations with Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed al-Hakim.
"We expect the US’ military presence in Iraq to correspond to the stated goals, specifically the fight against terrorism and support for Iraq’s government in stabilizing the situation, not to be used for solving the geopolitical tasks in this region which the US’ unilateral goals follow. I have no doubts that the Iraqi government proceeds from this understanding," the Russian foreign minister stated.
"We respect the sovereign right of Iraq, like any other country, to solve issues of how better provide its own security. As far as the US has its army on Iraqi territory under an agreement with the Iraqi government, these terms, that were established by international law, were fully executed," Lavrov said.
The US withdrew its forces from Iraq in December 2011 and returned to the country in August 2014 after ISIS militants had seized vast territories of the country.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared victory over the organization in December 2017.
The operation to eliminate the terrorists was carried out with support from the US-led coalition. In early February, the Iraqi prime minister stated that Baghdad adopted a plan to gradually reduce the presence of the alliance.