January 6, 2020 / 9:21 PM / 11 days ago

U.S. military has no plans to leave Iraq - defence secretary

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about airstrikes by the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has no plans to pull out militarily from Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters on Monday, following reports by Reuters and other media of a U.S. military letter about a withdrawal.

“There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper said, when asked about the letter, adding there had also been no plans issued to prepare to leave.

“I don’t know what that letter is ... We’re trying to find out where that’s coming from, what that is. But there’s been no decision made to leave Iraq. Period.”

Esper added the United States was still committed to countering Islamic State in Iraq, alongside America’s allies and partners.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Chris Reese

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