[size=36]Al-Halbousi met with the UAE and Erbil officials ... an American official reveals the details of the meetings[/size]
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, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker revealed that during his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates a few days ago, he met Speaker of the House of Representatives Muhammad Al-Halbousi, who happened to be there.
Schenker told reporters at the State Department that he "assured the Iraqi officials he met in Erbil and Abu Dhabi that the United States is not seeking war and remains committed to easing tensions."
Schenker said, "He discussed with Iraqi officials the strengthening of relations between the two countries, and with the Kurdistan region in particular," and
he said , "We are proud of our partnership with the Iraqi Kurds and see this partnership as central to achieving many of our goals in the Middle East."
The US Assistant Secretary of State stated that "the talks with the Iraqis dealt with building on the partnership with the Kurds dating back to 1991."
"He stressed that the coalition presence in Iraq aims only to continue fighting ISIS and to train Iraqi security forces to be ready to face any deadly threat."
Schenker condemned the attack on "Al-Balad Base which seriously wounded seven Iraqis."
And he explained, "He also discussed recent Iranian attacks on coalition installations and defensive steps taken by the United States to protect Americans."
Schenker condemned the assassination of the Iraqi journalist Ahmed Abdel Samad and the photographer Safaa Ghali in Basra during the peaceful demonstrations, saying that the assassinations, kidnappings, harassment of journalists and social media activists, and their intimidation by armed groups cannot continue without accountability.
The US official stressed that the Iraqi government is responsible for protecting freedom of expression and journalists and ensuring peaceful activists exercise their rights without fear of reprisal, and said, "This happens when violators are brought to justice."
On the other hand, in response to the speech of Republican Senator Marco Rubio about whether it was time to recognize the Kurdistan Region as an independent entity, an official of the Free State Department said, "The United States believes in a united Iraq."