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Pence reassures Kurds in surprise Iraq visit

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 23, 2019 - Duration: 02:36s

Pence reassures Kurds in surprise Iraq visit

On a surprise Iraq visit, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Kurds of U.S. support, discussed protests with the prime minister, and served Thanksgiving to U.S. troops.

Conway G.

Gittens reports.

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Pence reassures Kurds in surprise Iraq visit

Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, made a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday.

During the stop he met with Nechivran Barzani - the president of the Kurdistan region in Iraq, where he tried to reassure the Kurds of U.S. support even after President Trump's decision to pull troops from northern Syria.

And he also talked on the phone with the Iraq's' prime minister.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, SAYING: "With regards to our conversations with Prime Minister (Adil) Abdul-Mahdi, we we spoke about the unrest that's been taking place in recent weeks here in Iraq.

He assured me that they were working to avoid violence or the kind of repression that we see taking place even as we speak in Iran, and he he pledged to me that they, they would work to protect and respect peaceful protesters as a part of the democratic process here in Iraq...What I heard from President Barzani today as well as the prime minister here and the rest of the officials was that they are, they're greatly encouraged by President Trump's decision to maintain troops in Syria to secure the oil fields so that they don't fall into the hands of either ISIS or Iran or the Syrian regime.

That President Trump's commitment to our allies here in Iraq, as well as to those in the Syrian defense forces, the Kurdish forces who fought alongside us, is unchanging." The trip gave the Trump administration a chance to shift attention to foreign policy, while back at home Washington is consumed by the impeachment hearings - led by House Democrats.

But the trip wasn't all politics, Pence and his wife stopped to help celebrate an early Thanksgiving with some 700 American troops.

And as part of a pep talk, gave American servicemen and women something else to be thankful for.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Today, in budget negotiations with Congress, I'm proud to report to you that we're fighting to secure another pay raise for the men and women in our military and it will be the biggest in nine years." This was Pence's first trip to Iraq as vice president but he stayed away from the capital city of Baghdad due to safety concerns.

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