U.S. and Iraq agree to begin negotiations on a timetable for troop withdrawal

Washington and Baghdad noted that the focus of the U.S. and coalition mission is shifting to training and consultation

In a communiqué released following virtual talks between U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, the two countries agreed to begin technical talks aimed at agreeing on a timeline for the withdrawal of American combat troops.

“The focus of the U.S. and coalition forces’ mission is shifting to training and consultation, allowing the redeployment of remaining combat forces from Iraq,” the communiqué said, which also pointed to the “growing capability” of Iraqi security forces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi issued a tweet Tuesday describing the talks with Washington as “the way to restore normalcy in Iraq,” noting that the Iraqi people deserve to live without fear of conflict.

Some 2,500 U.S. troops are currently in Iraq, with another 1,000 or so in neighboring Syria.

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