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Arab League demands Turkey withdraw troops from Iraq

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Arab League demands Turkey withdraw troops from Iraq

Foreign ministers of the Arab League held an emergency meeting in Cairo on Thursday at the request of the Iraqi government. On the agenda: finding a solution to Turkey’s ongoing military presence in northern Iraq.

Hundreds of Turkish troops entered Iraq earlier this month and are stationed near Mosul. Ankara says they are there to protect Turkish military personnel training Iraqi militia in the area.

But Baghdad wants them out and the Arab League agrees.

“We support Iraq’s request and this reflects our great Arab solidarity with them,” Nabil Elaraby, Secretary General of the Arab League, told the forum. “We stand as Arab countries along with Iraq and we call on Turkey to immediately withdraw its military forces from Iraq and respect the international border between the two countries.”

Iraq says it will give Turkey a few days to withdraw but warned that it is willing to escalate its actions.

For the time being military conflict is unlikely according to euronews correspondent Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, who was at Thursday’s meeting.

“Iraq is preoccupied with a war against the so-called Islamic State on several different fronts; there are also significant sectarian divisions within the country that affect the government and the Iraqi people. For this reason, Iraq is hoping to use diplomatic means to resolve the current crisis.”