Iraq asks U.S. for mechanism on troop withdrawal: report

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi speaks during a symbolic funeral ceremony of Major General Ali al-Lami, who commands the Iraqi Federal Police's Fourth Division, who was killed in Salahuddin, in Baghdad, Iraq October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to devise a mechanism for a withdrawal of American troops from the country, the prime minister’s office said on Friday according to a Washington Post report.

Mahdi made the request in a telephone call with Pompeo on Thursday, the Post said. The move followed a vote by Iraq’s parliament to expel the 5,000 U.S. troops in the country after a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week.

Iran retaliated Tuesday night with air strikes on two bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops. There were no casualties and both Iran and the United States have since moved to de-escalate tensions.

The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.

In the phone call, Mahdi asked Pompeo “to send representatives to Iraq to put in place a mechanism for implementing the parliament’s decision for the safe withdrawal of forces from Iraq,” the Post said.

Mahdi also objected to U.S. forces entering Iraq and planes flying over Iraqi airspace, according to a statement cited by the Post.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama