Prime minister in Iraq

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 18-12-2019 10:37:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s prime minister is in Iraq on Wednesday visiting the Portuguese military contingent integrated into the international coalition with the mission to stabilise this country, through the training of Iraqi government forces in the fight against ‘Daesh’.

António Costa arrived at Baghdad international airport in Iraq in the morning coming from the Greek island of Samos and accompanied by a small entourage of the defence minister, João Gomes Cravinho.

He will remain in Iraqi territory for about six hours, continuing his trip to New Delhi on Wednesday evening, where on Thursday he will meet with the head of government of India, Narendra Modi, and will speak as a guest of honour at the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

On Iraqi territory, the leader of the Portuguese executive has a brief meeting at the airport with an Iraqi delegation. A meeting that was requested by the authorities of this country and which, according to a diplomatic source, aims above all to safeguard the concerns of Iraqis in terms of affirmation of sovereignty, in a very fragile internal political framework.

At the end of the morning, when he arrives at the Besmayah camp, located about 50 kilometres from Baghdad, Costa is to attend a brief military ceremony and training activities inside the base.

The last visit to the Portuguese force deployed in Iraq, at the Besmayah training camp, was made by the defence minister, João Gomes Cravinho, on 31 July.

The 10th Portuguese contingent of the international operation "Inherent Resolution" - an international coalition led by the US against the extremist Islamic State group - includes 30 troops, including three women, from various units of the Intervention Brigade.

This international coalition led by the US was created in 2014 and has some 80 member countries and has among its objectives the capacity building of Iraqi forces through training, provision of equipment and advice.

Portugal has participated in the coalition since May 2015 and the mission is renewable until 2020. Since 2015, 190 Portuguese soldiers have passed through the Besmayah camp, surrendered every six months.

Tension in the Middle East area has been increasing over the past year following the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Iraq, which has already offered to mediate between Tehran and Washington, will be one of the countries most affected if the crisis intensifies and is considered that it could suffer greatly if the conflict limits maritime transport in the Gulf, where almost all its oil exports pass through.


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