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UK, Iraq reaffirm ties as President Salih visits London

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The United Kingdom has reiterated commitment to working with Iraq on security, defense and trade, Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said ahead of Iraqi President Barham Salih’s visit to London.

“Our two countries share many mutual interests, including ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS and de-escalating regional tensions,” Hunt said.

“This is an important time for Iraq as it recovers from years of conflict and strengthens its relationships both regionally and internationally,” Hunt said, adding that the UK will reaffirm its close and historic relations with Iraq this week.

Salih is expected to stay in London for three days.

The Iraqi leader discussed security ties with Prime Minister Theresa May in a meeting after his arrival on Tuesday evening.

May reaffirmed her government’s stance of “supporting the Iraqi government in building a stable and successful nation”, a Downing Street spokesman said.

The ministers “acknowledged the ongoing threat posed by ISIS”, the spokesman said, adding that May stressed the UK’s readiness to provide further support to the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga.

They also agreed on the importance of international co-operation in the de-escalation of current tensions, the spokesman said.

Salih acknowledged the vital role that Britain played in the fight against terrorism in the region by training and equipping Iraqi security forces.

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