BAGHDAD – The United Kingdom remains committed to supporting Iraq in its fight against Islamic State, Prime Minister Theresa May said after arriving on Wednesday unannounced on her first visit to the Middle East nation since becoming head of the British government.
May held talks with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi about subjects that included the continuing role of the British armed forces in Iraq.
“We will continue to support Iraq as a partner to extend security, construction, and stability (and) training of Iraqi forces,” May said, according to a statement from al-Abadi’s office.
She also expressed support for the Iraqi government’s efforts to end corruption, adding that the UK looks forward to having ongoing relations with Baghdad in all fields.
For his part, al-Abadi welcomed May and thanked her for coming to Iraq.
“We thank the British government’s support for Iraq in all fields, especially the cooperation in counter-terrorism, providing air support, intelligence, support for stability, efforts to return internally displaced people and human right(s),” he said.
All of Iraq’s cities have been liberated from IS by the “sacrifices of our people and the courage of our heroic armed and police forces, PMU (Popular Mobilization Units), and tribal mobilization.”
“Iraq is heading toward the stage of building, reconstruction, and investment; we have discussed the contribution of British companies and activating the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries,” al-Abadi said.
The UK prime minister is also scheduled to visit Jordan and Saudi Arabia on her Middle East trip.