The Iraqi presidency said, in a statement, that the President, Barham Salih, met his American counterpart, Donald Trump, in Davos yesterday, where they discussed reducing foreign forces in the country, after Washington rejected an Iraqi request, earlier this month, to withdraw its forces.
The statement said: "During the meeting, the presence and reduction of foreign forces in the country was examined, and the importance of respecting the demands of the Iraqi people in preserving national sovereignty and ensuring security and stability."
On January 5, the Iraqi parliament approved a non-binding resolution calling on the government to end the presence of foreign forces in the country, following the US air strikes that led to the killing of the Quds Force commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, and the leader of an armed Iraqi faction, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi asked Washington to prepare for the withdrawal of its forces in line with the decision of the Iraqi parliament, but the Trump administration rejected the request.
Washington later said it was studying the possibility of expanding the NATO mission in Iraq and a plan to "share the burden properly in the region."
This comes at a time when a civilian activist was assassinated by an armed attack in the oil city of Basra, in southern Iraq, according to what a security source told Agence France Presse yesterday, as protests continue to demand long-awaited political reforms.
"The civilian activist Jannat Madhi (49 years) was killed by an attack by unidentified gunmen traveling in a four-wheel drive vehicle," a Basra police officer said, noting that five other people, including a female activist, were also seriously wounded.
The attack occurred just before midnight last night, and a medical source in the forensic medicine department in Basra confirmed, "The body of the activist who died after being shot was received."
Meanwhile, protests continued in Baghdad and the cities of the south of the country, including Nasiriyah, Diwaniyah, Najaf and Hilla, and demonstrators cut off major streets linking cities and sub-cities, which led to the suspension of work in government and educational institutions.
Demonstrators cut off main streets linking cities and sub-cities, which led to the suspension of work in government and educational institutions.