MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that US forces would not return to Iraq, but the US government will continue its support for the country.
“There will be no reintroduction of American combat forces into Iraq. This is a fight that Iraqis need to join on behalf of Iraq,” Kerry was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.
“What we are really looking for here is a way to support Iraq, to support their forces – either training or equipment or assistance of one kind or another – that can help them to stand on their own two feet and defend their nation,” Kerry said.
Despite ruling out the possibility of sending US troops to Iraq again, the US Department of State said that it would continue to support the democratic process in Iraq and stand with the Iraqi people in their fight against terrorism.
Kerry also urged Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi to form a government that is representative of the Iraqi people and inclusive of all Iraq’s religious and ethnic groups as soon as possible.
“We are urging him to form a new cabinet as swiftly as possible and the US stands ready to support a new and inclusive Iraqi government and particularly its fight against ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant],” Kerry said.
The United States has been providing humanitarian aid to Yazidi Kurds in northern Iraq fleeing from Islamic State (IS) militants’ repressive actions. The US government has also conducted air strikes against IS fighters and is helping to ship weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling the extremists.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group, also known as ISIL and ISIS, that has been fighting in Syria and launched an offensive in Iraq in June. The group has taken over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad. Also in June, the group announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.