King of Spain visits Iraq, first in 40 years: diplomat
Spain’s King Felipe VI Wednesday visited special forces helping Iraq fight extremists, during the first trip by a Spanish monarch to the war-ravaged country in four decades, a diplomat said.
The king, whose country is a member of an international coalition battling Daesh (ISIS), also later met President Barham Saleh.
Iraq in 2017 declared victory over Daesh following a bruising months-long campaign backed by the coalition, which continues to carry out operations against the extremists.
Spain, which took part in the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, went on to support Iraqi troops as they battled to roll back IS, which seized a third of the country including second city Mosul in 2014.
Hundreds of Spanish military instructors remain in the country.
King Felipe is one of a series of leaders to visit Baghdad since the start of the year, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who drew criticism for failing to meet a single Iraqi official.
Baghdad has also hosted the chief diplomats of its two main allies, Washington and Tehran – themselves bitter enemies.
Iraq’s precarious position has been complicated by Trump’s shock decision last month to pull troops from neighbouring Syria.
That has prompted pro-Iran factions to intensify their calls for an accelerated withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Source: National News Agencyhttps://syrianewsgazette.com/king-of-spain-visits-iraq-first-in-40-years-diplomat/General