The US State Department said it is planning to withdraw from its Baghdad embassy unless Iraq controls attacks on American personnel, The Washington Post reported.
The WaPo also said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Kadhimi on US plans to withdraw on Saturday night.
The report cited an Iraqi official who said that the US government demanded “stronger action against militias”, noting that the embassy shutdown could be averted if those actions are taken.
According to the report, the move is a surprise for the Iraqis.
“We hope the American administration will reconsider it,” Ahmed Mulla Talal, a spokesman for Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, said Sunday, commenting on the reported US intentions. “There are outlaw groups that try to shake this relationship, and closing the embassy would send a negative message to them.”
“A senior official in Kadhimi’s office said Sunday that the prime minister is lobbying European partners to try to persuade the United States to reverse its decision, citing the “negative consequences” that it might have on the country’s stability”, The WaPo said.
According to Sky News Arabia, the news on US plans to withdraw from the Iraqi embassy might be officially announced on Monday.
The US Embassy in Iraq is situated in what is known as the “Green Zone” – an area hosting several foreign diplomatic missions and Iraqi government offices. The zone often faces rocket attacks, but usually the incidents do not result in civilian casualties or significant damage.