White House spokeswoman Jane Saki said Tuesday that the U.S. administration “looks forward to reviewing the strategic dialogue with Iraq next April.”
“The goal will be to clarify that the mission of coalition forces is limited to training Iraqi forces and providing advice to ensure that the Islamic State does not return,” Saki said in a press release.
Iraq had sent a formal request to the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to set a date for resuming strategic talks on bilateral relations and the withdrawal of remaining forces in the country, Iraqi officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The talks, which began last June under former President Donald Trump, will be the first under Biden, who took office in January. The talks are intended to determine the future of U.S.-Iraqi relations.
Relations between the two countries have become strained and tense, especially after a U.S. airstrike in January that killed the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s “Qods Force,” Qassem Soleimani, and the head of the Iraqi “popular mobilization” militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, outside Baghdad airport.
Iraqi lawmakers, backed by Shiite political factions, made the decision to expel U.S.-led coalition forces from Iraq after the attack.
Relations improved after Mustafa Al-Kazemi took over as president of the Iraqi government in May, but some parties, particularly those backed by Iran, continue to call for the withdrawal of US forces.