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Tillerson: Iranian militias must leave Iraq
41 minutes ago

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir addressing a joint press conference in Riyadh on Sunday. -- SPA
Saudi Gazette report
RIYADHIranian militias in Iraq must return to their homeland as there is no justification for their presence in Iraq, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir here on Sunday.
"Certainly Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fighting against Daesh is coming to a close, those military need to go home,” Tillerson said, adding “all foreign fighters need to go home.”
He said it is now up to the Iraqi people to take the initiative themselves in the liberated areas and allow the Iraqi people to restore and build normal life in cooperation with neighboring countries.
Tillerson said that President Donald Trump’s new policy towards Iran figured during his talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.
“King Salman expressed his strong support for that policy because of Iran’s behavior in the region and the efforts of the Revolutionary Guard, represented by Iran, to destabilize the region,” he said.
Tillerson hoped that European companies would support this policy.
“We are hoping that European companies, countries and others around the world will join the U.S. as we put in place a sanctions structure to prohibit certain activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that foment instability in the region and create destruction in the region,” he said.
On the efforts being made through the Saudi-Iraqi Coordination Council to exert influence on Iran, Tillerson stressed the importance of Iraq being able to stand on its own.
“We seek to build the Iraqi economy and infrastructure to a large extent, and in this context we are working to strengthen the economic movement fully, and as King Salman said today that Iraq can stand by itself but may face some external challenges such as the Iranian influence.”

Tillerson stressed that Saudi-Iraqi coordination is very important for Iraq’s stability and future. “Developing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq will also benefit the Kingdom within the context of the Vision 2030.”
Addressing the press conference, Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom will participate alongside the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the Gulf summit even if the Qatari crisis continues. Reacting to the ongoing efforts of the Kuwait Emir to hold the Gulf Summit on time in Kuwait, he said that consultations are now underway among countries and (the outcome) will be announced.

Regarding his meetings with Tillerson, Al-Jubeir said they discussed the Qatari crisis in addition to terrorism and extremism in Syria, Iraq, the Middle East and the North Korea crisis, stressing that the Saudi-US views were identical on most of these issues.
Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom and Iraq have geographical, economic and social ties as well as a strong neighborly relationship and common aspirations. “It is important that these two countries to have the greatest influence in determining future directions.” He stressed the importance of benefiting from the social ties and the common assets that bind the two countries whose relations are rooted in history. “We are seeking through this council to work on building the best relations that will pave the way for the future and work together in cooperation with the United States.”

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