Blinken and Hussein discuss fight against ISIS in Iraq during Washington meeting

US secretary of state hosts his Iraqi counterpart before Prime Minister Al Khadhimi's visit

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed his Iraqi counterpart to the State Department on Friday.

Mr Blinken and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein spoke about the importance of their countries’ relationship in facing major issues affecting both, from climate change to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But both leaders also highlighted the need for security cooperation in the continued battle against ISIS.

“We, of course, are the closest of partners in the fight against ISIS,” said Mr Blinken.

“We can take tremendous pride in the work we’ve done together to defeat ISIS and to make sure that it stays defeated. But I think what today is demonstrating is that the partnership between the United States and Iraq is much broader and deeper than even the common fight against ISIS.”

Mr Hussein also recognised that joint work with the US is not enough to combat ISIS and that help from other countries is needed.

“We need the cooperation with the international coalition,” said Mr Hussein.

The UN Security Council this week received a report from the UN monitoring team that said that extremist groups, including ISIS, had proved their resilience and continue to pose dangerous threats in the country and elsewhere.

“To work with the international coalition under the leadership of the United States against ISIS and to exchange information with the international coalition and the United States and Iraq to defeat that” is highly important, Mr Hussein continued.

The visit comes on the heels of continued discussions surrounding the potential withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, though reports of such a withdrawal have been denied by the Biden administration.

Mr Hussein's visit also comes in advance of a White House visit by Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi next week. This will be his second meeting with Joe Biden since the president assumed office.

It is anticipated that further clarification on the future of US troops in Iraq will follow Mr Al Kadhimi's visit.

Updated: July 24th 2021, 4:33 AM