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US urges calm over Turkey’s troops inside Iraq without Iraq’s permission

9th Dec 2015
US urges calm over Turkey’s troops inside Iraq without Iraq’s permission

NEW YORK (AA) – The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday urged political dialogue between Turkey and Iraq to defuse a row over the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq.

Samantha Power told reporters in New York that it was important for all stakeholders to come together ahead of the next international Syria meeting in order that the talks “bear the kind of fruit that the Syrian people have been desperate for” to end the fighting that has killed more than 250,000 victims since 2011.

Meanwhile, a senior official from the U.S. State Department who wanted to remain anonymous said Tuesday that Turkish troops near Mosul were not a combat deployment, but a small training presence which that Turkey already had in place.

“This small training element is not new, been there for a few while, and it’s been there with consultation with the Iraqi government,” the official said.

The posting of military trainers to Bashiqa, near Mosul, has caused a diplomatic spat between Iraq and Turkey, with Baghdad insisting they be withdrawn while the Turkish government has said the troops are merely part of a routine rotation as part of a training program for Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

The program has provided training for more than 2,500 peshmerga fighters, including officers, with the ultimate aim of fighting Daesh, according to the Turkish military.

“Our belief is that just as we operate in close coordination with and with the consent of Iraqi government that all countries should do that,” Power said.

“Our understanding of the original Turkish deployment is that, that was something that was negotiated with the government of Iraq. We are hopeful that this additional deployment is something too that can be done in that manner,” she added.

 
Author: Esra Kaymak, Mustafa Çağlayan
[Photo: United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power at UN Headquarters in New York, USA on December 08, 2015. Photographer: Cem Özdel/AA]

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