Iraqi PM said to get White House invitation from Biden

No date set yet for US president’s meeting with Iran-backed Mohammed Shia al-Sudani; development comes as similar invite still eludes Netanyahu

This handout picture shows Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani holding a press conference in the southern province of Basra Governorate on September 2, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister's Press Office/AFP)
This handout picture shows Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani holding a press conference in the southern province of Basra Governorate on September 2, 2023. (Iraqi Prime Minister's Press Office/AFP)

US President Joe Biden has invited Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to visit the White House in the future, reports said Tuesday.

The invitation came during a meeting Sudani had Monday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during the Iraqi leader’s New York visit to attend the UN General Assembly, the Reuters news agency reported, citing a State Department spokesperson and Iraqi state media.

The politicians “renewed their commitment to continue strengthening the partnership between the two countries,” the spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

The reports said a date for the meeting would be set at a later time.

Biden hasn’t yet met the Iraqi leader, who was appointed last year by a predominantly pro-Iran group of parties and has been treading a fine line of maintaining friendly relations with both Tehran and Washington.

The development came as a similar White House invitation has eluded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also in New York for the General Assembly.

Left: US President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House, April 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Yad LeBanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, April 13, 2021. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

Netanyahu will have a long-awaited meeting with Biden this week, albeit on the sidelines of the General Assembly rather than in the White House. It will be the first Biden-Netanyahu meeting since the Israeli premier returned to office as head of a right-wing, far-right and ultra-Orthodox coalition in late December.

The Biden administration has held off on an invitation to the White House amid massive protests and fierce opposition to the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul bid, which Washington has repeatedly warned against.

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