US Defense Secretary makes unannounced visit to Baghdad

US Defense Secretary makes unannounced visit to Baghdad

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has made an unannounced visit to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Tuesday, according to his accompanying staff.

Austin is the highest-ranking ministerial official to visit Iraq since the beginning of US President Joe Biden’s term in office.

“I am in Iraq to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq as we move toward a more secure, stable, and sovereign Iraq,” Austin said in a statement.

Austin is expected to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani and other senior officials while he is in Baghdad, but these meeting will not be held in front of the camera, according to the Arabic-language website of CNN.

The website reported that Austin will return to the Jordanian capital of Amman, from where he began his tour of the countries of the region, on Sunday.