Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has renewed rejection to the presence of any foreign military bases in Iraq.
The remarks came on Tuesday during a meeting with acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Baghdad, who arrived on the same day in a surprise visit.
“We must abide by the basic agreements between the two countries, which deal with fighting terrorism and training Iraqi forces, not anything else,” he said, adding that the Iraqi decision is independent and not influenced by any pressure from any party.
He also highlighted Iraq’s interests in developing ties with the U.S., especially in the fight against terrorism and training of Iraqi forces.
Moreover, he urged supporting the efforts of stability and reconstruction in the country, indicating the successes achieved and the stability witnessed after defeating ISIS.
“Iraq is open to its Arab and regional environments and is keen to establish cooperation relations that serve the interests of the Iraqi people,” the premier added.
Shanahan’s first visit to Iraq comes after President Donald Trump said this month that a US presence was needed to observe Iran.
"We are in Iraq at the invitation of the government and our interests are to build Iraqi security capability," Shanahan told reporters traveling with him, according to Reuters.