Iraqi PM: Trump wants to be 'more engaged' in terror fight
US President Donald Trump listens while Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks during their meeting in the Cabinet Room in the White House on March 20, 2017, in Washington, DC.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi was in Washington, Holding discussions on ISIL at the White House. "We are happy with the meeting..."
Abadi met Trump at the White House on the 14th anniversary of the USA invasion of Iraq and two days before a major Washington ministerial meeting on the way ahead in the war against the Islamic State group. It has already loosened some battlefield rules, including by giving some commanders more authority on the ground...
Trump greeted al-Abadi in the Oval Office shortly after FBI Director James Comey said the FBI and Justice Department have no information to substantiate Trump's claims that Obama wiretapped him before the election.
"It's not an easy job", Mr Trump said. "I think we are happy with the [White House] meeting. and we're looking forward to meeting with Congress and others", he said. "I sense a difference in terms of being head-to-head with terrorism", Abadi told an audience at the United States Institute for Peace.
The Iraqi authorities launched an offensive in October to retake Mosul from the IS group with the support of US-led coalition air strikes. "It's a very tough job", he said. "We will figure something out". "I mean we have to get rid of ISIS", he added, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group. "It will happen. It's happening right now".
Abadi also thanked trump for removing Iraq from travel ban affecting several Muslim-majority countries.
Mr Trump said he hoped to address the "vacuum" that was created when IS moved into Iraq and added, "we shouldn't have gone in" to Iraq in the first place. "We shouldn't be derailing the whole thing" or losing focus against ISIS because of clashes among the region's major actors", he said. "But maybe someday we'll be able to figure that one out". He took the opportunity to criticize the nuclear deal his predecessor, Barack Obama, pursued with Iran.
During al-Abadi's last visit to Washington, the Iraqi premier worked to drum up greater financial and military support as he faced the daunting task of rebuilding cities destroyed in the fight against ISIS. He also sought aid to counter a massive humanitarian crisis spawned by the fighting, which has displaced more than 4 million people.
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