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UK reaffirms support for Iraqi military in Baghdad meeting

Iraq’s President Barham Salih met with senior UK officials on Thursday to further strengthen bilateral ties and military cooperation between Iraq and the UK in fighting terrorism.

“The war on terror is ongoing and that there is a need for international solidarity in the face of terrorist organizations that present both a national and international threat” read an official statement from the Iraqi Presidency.

Salih met in Baghdad on Thursday with United Kingdom’s Senior Defense Advisor for the Middle East and Africa, Lieutenant General (LTG) Sir John Lorimer, and the UK’s Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey.

Sir Lorimer reaffirmed UK support for Iraqi security forces in terms of training and arms to achieve stability and security in Iraq, according to the statement.

“Iraq could be a hub of security in the region if sovereignty were respected,” Salih added.

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with LTG Lorimer and Ambassador Hickey on Wednesday to discuss military collaboration and security reform in the region as part of continued efforts to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) remnants.

ISIS took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Although the Iraqi government announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in December 2017, remnants of the group have returned to carrying out insurgent activities across the country.

The British Consulate General in Erbil announced on Thursday a three-year, UK-funded professional military education and development programme in Military Staff College, also called Arkan College, in Ranya; a military academy established in 2003 after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The UK is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and has troops across the country to train Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.

It signed a memorandum of understanding with Iraq in 2019 to further develop military ties between the two countries. Source