BERLIN (Dispatches) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani says his country is in no need of foreign combat forces on its soil as he visits Berlin to discuss bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Speaking in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Sudani said “Iraqi security forces are capable of defeating terrorism.”
“Iraq does not need combat forces from the international coalition,” he said.
According to the prime minister, Baghdad is reviewing the size and type of remaining advisory forces that remain in the country.
Some 2,500 U.S. troops still remain inside the Arab country in what Washington describes as an “advisory” mission. U.S. President Joe Biden and Iraq’s then-prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi declared in July 2021 that the U.S. mission in Iraq would transition from combat to an “advisory” role by the end of that year.
After the 2020 assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, along with the region’s legendary anti-terror commander, Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, Iraqi lawmakers ratified a bill that required the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the U.S.
The German official said they discussed gas import from Iraq.
“We also talked about possible gas deliveries to Germany and agreed to stay in close contact,” he said in the press conference as Berlin is seeking to diversify its energy resources.
No further detail on the volume of imported gas from Iraq has been revealed yet.
Speaking about the energy ties, Sudani said Iraq wants to help meet global energy needs while also stimulating its domestic economy. He added that Iraq’s gas can be delivered to Europe through Turkey.
He said German companies could help Iraq with the problem of gas flaring. Iraq continues to flare some of the gas extracted alongside crude oil because it lacks the facilities to process it into fuel for local consumption or exports.
Opportunities, he maintained, have been offered to German firms to invest in Iraq’s gas industry.
Iraq has also signed a deal with German company Siemens to upgrade its power grid. The deal aims to increase Iraq’s power generation by 11 gigawatts.
“Iraq is already one of the countries most affected by the climate crisis, and the challenges will continue to grow in the coming years,” Scholz said, adding that Germany wants to help Iraq diversify its economy from fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint, including through the use of solar power and hydrogen.