Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Home > Education > King of Spain visits Iraq, first in 40 years: diplomat

King of Spain visits Iraq, first in 40 years: diplomat

Spain's King Felipe VI Wednesday visited special forces helping Iraq fight extremists, during the first trip by a Spanish monarch to the war-ravaged country in four decades, a diplomat said.

The king, whose country is a member of an international coalition battling Daesh (ISIS), also later met President Barham Saleh.

Iraq in 2017 declared victory over Daesh following a bruising months-long campaign backed by the coalition, which continues to carry out operations against the extremists.

Spain, which took part in the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, went on to support Iraqi troops as they battled to roll back IS, which seized a third of the country including second city Mosul in 2014.

Hundreds of Spanish military instructors remain in the country.

King Felipe is one of a series of leaders to visit Baghdad since the start of the year, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who drew criticism for failing to meet a single Iraqi official.

Baghdad has also hosted the chief diplomats of its two main allies, Washington and Tehran - themselves bitter enemies.

Iraq's precarious position has been complicated by Trump's shock decision last month to pull troops from neighbouring Syria.

That has prompted pro-Iran factions to intensify their calls for an accelerated withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Source: National News Agency