Shafaq News/ Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani met with the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who arrived in Baghdad on his first visit to the Iraqi capital as the U.S. top diplomat on Sunday.
A readout issued by al-Sudani's bureau in English said the meeting touched on the "escalating events in the Gaza Strip" and "emphasized the need to contain the crisis and prevent its expansion."
The two statespersons called for "coordinating efforts" to deliver essential aid supplies to Gaza in a bid to address the "deteriorating humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people."
Prime Minister al-Sudani reiterated Iraq's "steadfast and principled stance against the Zionist aggression on Gaza" and called for an "urgent ceasefire and reopening of border crossings" to prevent the exacerbation of Gaza'a "humanitarian crisis, which has tragically affected civilians, including women and children."
The premier urged the "international community" to take action against the "daily massacres" committed by Israeli forces, the targeting of hospitals and shelters, and the "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinian people.
"Blinken expressed the United States' commitment to delivering humanitarian aid to the people in the Gaza Strip, and he emphasized the willingness of the U.S. government to maintain bilateral coordination and cooperation with Iraq to promote regional and international stability," the press release read.
Yesterday, Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah issued a warning that the expected Blinken visit would be met with "an unprecedented escalation."
Earlier today, Blinken landed at Baghdad’s international airport, donned a ballistic vest, and traveled by Black Hawk helicopter to the Green Zone, a remnant of the U.S. occupation of Iraq after its 2003 invasion.
At the U.S. ambassador's residence, he was briefed on threats to U.S. facilities before heading to the prime minister's office.
Speaking to the press after his meeting, Blinken said his meeting with the prime minister was "good" and "productive" and said he made clear that attacks by Iranian-backed groups against US personnel are totally unacceptable.
"It was very important to send a very clear message to anyone who might seek to take advantage of the conflict in Gaza to threaten our personnel here or anywhere else in the region: Don’t do it," Blinken told reporters after meeting al-Sudani.
Blinken said he reiterated in his meeting with the premier that the US will "do what's necessary to protect our personnel and military facilities." They also discussed making sure the conflict in Gaza does not spread into the wider region.
The U.S. top diplomat will travel to Turkey later on Sunday, where protests were already underway.