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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke today with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. The Secretary and Prime Minister discussed the obligation of the Government of Iraq to protect diplomatic personnel and Coalition advisors and facilities. The Secretary condemned the attack overnight on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as well as the series of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria over recent weeks. He welcomed the Prime Minister's statement this morning that rightly condemned the attack as "acts of terrorism" that "endanger Iraq's internal security." The Secretary underscored that the United States reserves the right to act in self-defense against those launching any attack against U.S. personnel. He affirmed that the Iranian-backed militant groups Katai'ib Hezbollah and Harakat al-Nujaba, both designated terrorist organizations, are responsible for most of the attacks against Coalition personnel, and that the United States reserves the right to respond decisively against those groups – to address threats and attacks against U.S. and Coalition personnel. Secretary Austin underscored that attacks by Iran-backed militias undermine the sovereignty and stability of Iraq, risk the safety of Iraqi civilians, and set back the campaign to defeat ISIS. They discussed the U.S.-Iraq Higher Military Commission, which was agreed by the two governments during the U.S.-Iraq Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue in August 2023 and is a consultative mechanism for the transition of the Coalition. However, the Secretary made clear that attacks against U.S. forces must stop.