Germany committed to Iraq, defence minister says during Baghdad talks

BAGHDAD, Carsten Hoffmann (dpa)- Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday underlined Germany's long-term commitment to helping rebuild Iraq as she met with her Iraqi counterpart Irfan al-Hayali in Baghdad to discuss the German army's deployment in his country.
Von der Leyen called for "staying power" in order to ensure security, reform efforts and the country's rebuilding following the defeat of Islamic State.

"The fight against IS left deep wounds and scars in the country, so it will take patience," she said, adding that Germany has invested 1.4 million euros (1.6 million dollars) in Iraq since 2014.
"The acute battle for the territory formerly occupied by IS is over. Now, it is important, among other things, to shape the reconstruction of the country under a new mandate. Germany is ready to help Iraq get back on its feet. That is why I am here," she said.
Bundeswehr soldiers are stationed in Jordan and from there are helping in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
The German government extended their mandate in March to allow the Bundeswehr to train specialists from the Iraqi army as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces and to advise the government in Baghdad.
The mandate, the stated goal of which is the stabilization of Iraq, runs until October 31 and could potentially be extended.
Von der Leyen on Saturday visited troops in Jordan, where they are stationed at an air base in Azraq.
The German contingent of the international alliance working against the Islamic State consists of about 290 soldiers. There are also four Tornado fighter jets and a tanker aircraft stationed there.

Monday, September 17th 2018
Carsten Hoffmann (dpa)

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