Thu, 15 Nov 2018
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Washington D.C. [USA], Oct 17 (ANI): United States Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan met Iraqi religious leaders to reaffirm the US' commitment to assisting religious minorities, including Yazidis and Christians, who have been persecuted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq.

Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the US Department of State, released an official statement on Tuesday (local time) which highlighted how Sullivan outlined the United States' view that "ensuring people of all beliefs have a secure future in Iraq is integral to the region's stability and peace", during the meeting.

Sullivan was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Doug Silliman, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Ricky Waddell, National Security Council Director for Iraq Matthew Zais and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs Andrew Peek in the meeting which was held over lunch.

The release also mentioned that the USA has provided nearly USD 1 billion since the financial year 2017 in development and security assistance in Iraq, of which nearly USD 300 million is specifically prioritised in geographic regions with concentrations of religious communities, such as the Ninewa Plains.

A large chunk of the aid goes towards benefiting displaced and other conflict-affected populations in northern Iraq, according to the statement. The region hosts the majority of the country's displaced ethnic and religious minorities. (ANI)

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