October 23, 2019 / 4:52 PM / 20 days ago

Pentagon chief says U.S. forces enter, leave Iraq with government permission: Iraqi PM

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday the United States respects Iraq’s sovereignty and that U.S. forces enter and leave Iraq with Baghdad’s permission, Abdul Mahdi’s office said.

“The U.S. forces withdrawing from Syria into Iraq enter and leave Iraqi territory with permission and approval from the Iraqi government, and any media reports of them staying in Iraq are not true,” Abdul Mahdi’s office quoted Esper as saying.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Chris Reese

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