WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said his country has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq.
Responding to a letter informing Iraqi officials about the repositioning of troops in preparation to leave the country, he said the message was sent by “mistake”.
He said that there has been no decision whatsoever to leave.
Earlier, the head of the US military’s Task Force in Iraq, Brigadier General William Seely informed his Iraqi counterparts in a letter that troops are preparing to leave the country after Iraqi parliament had called for them to leave by passing a resolution.
Top US officials have said that the letter was a draft only and neither finalized nor signed. It was circulated among US and Iraqi military officials to get their opinion in this regard, they said. One US official said they meant to discuss leaving the Green Zone and move to protect other areas rather than leaving Iraq.
The fresh development came after the Iraqi government requested the US troops to leave their land.
UN chief expresses concern over Middle East situation
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has expressed his deep concern over the deteriorating situation of Middle East and called on parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint to stop escalation of global tensions.
He was talking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
Describing the catastrophic results of wars, he said it is our common duty to avoid wars as war brings terrible human sufferings and ordinary people pay the highest price in wars.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the situation of Middle East and Venezuela with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in telephonic conversation.