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Hashd Al-Shaabi Official: Iraqi Gov’t Not Entitled to Negotiate with US over Continued Deployment

A senior official of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) said that the country's government is not entitled to hold talks with Washington to prolong the American forces' deployment in Iraq.

“The political system in Iraq is parliament-based; therefore, the government is not entitled to negotiate and allow the American forces to remain in Iraqi territories,” Abbas al-Zaidi, a member of the political delegation of Kata’eb al-Seyed al-Shohada group (affiliated to Hashd al-Shaabi), was quoted by the Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website as saying on Wednesday.

He said that Washington has not complied with the contents of its strategic agreement with Iraq, and added, “The agreement does not provide the US with permission to build bases and does not grant immunity to the American soldiers.”

In relevant remarks on Monday, a senior Iraqi lawmaker had also said that withdrawal of foreign forces from the country is necessary based on the law approved by the parliament.

“The approval to expel the foreign forces has been ratified and the former government was committed to it and it has turned into an imperative law,” Ahmad al-Assadi, the chairman of al-Sanad al-Watani faction in the parliament, was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Ahd news website as saying.

He underlined the importance of upcoming talks between Baghdad and Washington, saying, “They should be held based on the approval to expel foreign forces.”

No talks will be held to prolong deployment of foreign forces in Iraq, al-Assadi underlined.

The Iraqi parliament has passed and approved a plan to expel foreign troops from its soil on January 6, 2019, two days after the assassination of late Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, Deputy Chairman of al-Hashd al-Shaabi Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis and their companions in the US military terrorist attack, near Baghdad airport.

Baghdad-Washington strategic negotiations that are set to begin in the middle of this month include the US military presence in Iraq, US military support for Iraq to fight against the ISIL remnants, commitment to protect foreign companies operating in Iraq, and hygienic help for the coronavirus patients.

Yet, the talks are legally binded by the parliament approval on the US military pullout and cannot delay to reverse the legislation legally as the government is duty-bound to comply with parliament approvals.

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