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EU aiding Iraq in combatting narcotics, human trafficking: ambassador

Dilan Sirwan

Mar. 07, 2024
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The EU is working with Iraq to tackle drug and human trafficking and broader security issues, amid talks of withdrawing coalition troops.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The European Union is working with Iraq to face several different problems such as combatting drug and human trafficking, the EU’s ambassador to the country said on Monday.

“I know there is a fundamental principle readiness by all the member states to help Iraq not only economically but also in the security path,” EU Ambassador to Iraq Thomas Seiler told The New Region on the sidelines of the Rafidain Forum in Baghdad.

“ISIS is one point, but there are growing problems when it comes to anti-narcotics, to counterterrorism of a different manner than ISIS, and we have to work together on this phenomena as well,” the ambassador added.

Attempts to end the global coalition’s mission increased from the Iraqi side following latest US attacks on bases and facilities belonging to Popular Mobilization Forces, targeting leaders and members of the group. 

Following an attack in early February that killed two officials from the pro-Iran Kataib Hezbollah, which is officially incorporated into the Iraqi armed forces, Iraq’s top military spokesperson Yehia Rasool said that the Iraqi government’s will to end US presence in the country is now “more than ever”.

Though the US has on multiple occasions claimed that the global coalition is in Iraq upon the invitation of the Iraqi government to help and train Iraqi troops in the fight against ISIS, and claims that troops remaining in the country serve an advisory and training role, it has always remained a serious question whether the Iraqi armed forces are now able to defend Iraq in case of a new insurgency. 

“We work together with the government, we also have a specific mission here which is called advisory mission for civilian security sector reform, meaning to build up competent, strong police forces,” Ambassador Seiler said of the EU’s aid in the security sector. “Police forces that can act against criminal gangs, that can act against the trafficking of people.”

Addressing the withdrawal of global coalition forces from the country, Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said earlier this week that negotiations are underway to end the US presence.

"ISIS does not represent a threat to the security of the state, our security services are at a high level of preparedness, and the countries of the region are now using our information against terrorism and its networks,” Sudani said.

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Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.

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