BAGHDAD, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday ruled out Iraq as the ground for "settling accounts" by the U.S. and its rival Iran.
Al-Kadhimi made the remarks after separately receiving the U.S. and Iranian ambassadors to Iraq, during which he expressed his country's keenness to cooperate with all countries.
During his meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller, al-Kadhimi underscored the need for bilateral cooperation in the economic and security fields, as well as for preparing for the strategic dialogue between the two countries, the prime minister's media office said in a statement.
Al-Kadhimi also asserted the need to maintain security and stability in the region, while reiterating that Iraq will not be a ground for settling accounts and launching attacks on any neighboring or friendly country, the statement said.
Tueller congratulated al-Kadhimi for taking office after gaining the confidence of the Iraqi parliament, confirming the U.S. readiness to support Iraq in all aspects, particularly in the economic field and in containing the COVID-19 spread, the statement added.
Also in the day, al-Kadhimi held a meeting in his office with Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi, during which he confirmed Iraq's keenness to maintain the best relations with Iran and all other neighboring countries to serve the interests of the two neighbors, as well as regional security and stability, al-Kadhimi's media office said in a separate statement.
"Al-Kadhimi stressed that Iraq will not be a passage or hotbed for terrorism against any country or a ground for settling accounts," the statement said.
For his part, Masjedi congratulated al-Kadhimi for taking office and expressed his country's willingness to develop the bilateral ties in all aspects, it added.
Al-Kadhimi's comments came amid the rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. on the Iraqi soil, since the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, in a drone attack near Iraqi capital Baghdad in January.
The Iranian-backed militias have frequently attacked Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops across Iraq as well as the U.S. embassy inside the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad.
Around 5,000 U.S. troops have been deployed in Iraq to support Iraqi forces in the battle against the Islamic State, mainly for training and advisory purposes. Enditem