Iraq will maintain relations with Iran, PM tells Pompeo

Anadolu Agency – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has affirmed his country’s commitment to pursuing “balanced” regional policies, including the maintenance of good relations with neighboring Iran.

Abdul-Mahdi made the remarks in a statement released by his office on Wednesday after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday evening for an hours-long visit.

Describing the U.S. as an “important strategic partner for Iraq”, Abdul-Mahdi went on to assert that his country hoped to “maintain a policy of building bridges… with its friends and neighbors, including Iran”.

Baghdad, he said, hopes to build relations with regional and international capitals “based entirely on Iraq’s best interest”.

He added: “Iraq has returned to its basic role in the region, providing a venue for dialogue — not conflict.”

Pompeo, for his part, commended Iraq’s “efforts to promote regional security and attract foreign investment and expertise”, according to the statement issued by Abdul-Mahdi’s office.

Pompeo also hailed what he described as Baghdad’s “special relationship” with Washington.

While in the Iraqi capital, Washington’s top diplomat also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, along with a number of other top officials.