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Iraq ‘Absolutely Against’ Foreign Troops, Bases on Its Territory: Foreign Minister

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Iraq has never asked for foreign troops to be sent in and is strongly against the presence of foreign military forces and bases on its territory, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari told the RT news channel Monday.

MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) – Iraq has never asked for foreign troops to be sent in and is strongly against the presence of foreign military forces and bases on its territory, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari told the RT news channel Monday.

"We are absolutely against foreign military bases and the presence of foreign military forces. Yes, we did ask for help, but it concerned air cover," Jaafari said.

"The question of sending troops in was discussed several times and we were very frank and stated clearly that we are completely against the deployment of foreign troops on our territory, as it can cause justifiable fears and concerns among the Iraqi population," the foreign minister noted.

According to Jaafari, Iraq is currently building up its own military forces.

"We did not ask for troops to be sent in, on the contrary, we opposed it. The number of our fighters is growing constantly, and especially after the Shiite clergy pointed to the necessity of mobilizing the forces of the entire nation, crowds of people started showing up at the recruiting stations to take part in the fight and the whole world was witness to it," Jaafari added.

The Iraqi foreign minister did note that his country is in need of weapons and humanitarian aid, which could be used to help the 800,000 dislocated people in Iraq.

The situation in Iraq remains unstable as the country is currently fighting the Islamic State (IS), a radical Sunni group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The IS has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012 and extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq in June 2014, forcing thousands of people, mostly religious minorities, to flee.

The United States authorized airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq in August. In September the military action was extended to Syria with an international coalition having been set up to defeat the extremists. According to the US State Department, the coalition currently comprises more than 60 countries, including the Arab league and a number of European states.

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