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US secretary of state arrives in Baghdad on unannounced visit

09.01.2019 3944
The United States' secretary of state made a surprise visit to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials on Wednesday, as a part of an extensive tour of the Middle East in a bid to reassure its allies of Washington's commitment to the region, Iraq's state television confirmed, EFE reports.

Mike Pompeo's trip came after US President Donald Trump announced last month a pullout of US troops from Syria, a move that led to the resignation of his then Defense Secretary, James Mattis.

Al-Iraqiya channel said Iraq's Parliament Speaker Mohamed al-Halbusi welcomed Pompeo in Baghdad, adding no further details.

Trump surprised the US forces stationed in Iraq with a visit on Dec. 26, but left without meeting any Iraqi officials.

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi then said that a planned meeting with the US president was canceled over disagreements and replaced by a telephone conversation.

Pompeo started his tour in Jordan Tuesday and is scheduled to visit Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait.

During the first leg of his visit, Pompeo claimed the withdrawal of the US forces from Syria would not impact the fight against the Islamic State terror organization, and pledged to double the pressure on Iran.

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