Kerry: No plans for more US troops in Iraq

 

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States doesn’t plan to send additional troops to Iraq, according to The Wall Street Journal.

At a news conference in Sydney, Kerry urged Iraq’s prime minister-designate, Haider al-Abadi, to quickly form a new government.

"We are urging him to form a new cabinet as swiftly as possible, and the U.S. stands ready to support a new and inclusive Iraqi government and particularly its fight against ISIL," Kerry said.

Iraq’s president on Monday nominated al-Abadi, who received congratulatory phone calls from both President Obama and Vice President Biden. Al-Abadi has 30 days to present a new government for approval. Current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, however, has expressed his intent to remain on as the Iraqi leader.

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"Nobody, I think, is looking towards a return to the road that we've traveled," Kerry said. "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."

His comments come one day after a senior official at the Pentagon said U.S. airstrikes in Iraq have slowed the advance of militant members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sometimes referred to as ISIL, but added that they likely won’t stop the group.  

Obama has repeatedly said sending in combat ground troops into Iraq is off the table. Obama has so far dispatched military advisers to assist the Iraqi army and U.S. personnel to protect U.S. facilities there. 

Kerry said the U.S. and Australia plan to pressure the United Nations to adopt international standards to combat the growth of foreign fighters in the Middle East.

"We have a responsibility to take this to the United Nations and to the world, so that all countries involved take measures ahead of time to prevent the return of these fighters and the chaos and havoc that come with that," Kerry told reporters in Sydney, according to Reuters.

He said he would call on the U.N. to adopt a “best practice” all countries can embrace to reduce the terrorist threat globally.

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