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Iraqi prime minister welcomes 'new era' of Trump support in terrorism fight

Haider Abadi in Baghdad in 2014 (Pool)
Haider Abadi in Baghdad in 2014 (Pool)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi praised what he called a "new era" of cooperation after meeting President Trump at the White House.

"I think this administration wants to be more engaged ... and is prepared to do more to fight terrorism," Abadi said. "We are happy with the new era."

Abadi said he had seen no "blueprint" of U.S. plans for Iraq and had received no new concrete commitments of aid, and he warned that Islamic State would take more than battlefield victories.

In addition to his White House meeting, Abadi and other senior Iraqi officials are in Washington for a 68-nation meeting on new ways to combat the terrorist organization.

Islamic State has suffered significant defeats in the last year and appears poised to soon lose control of west Mosul, its last major urban stronghold in Iraq, after a battle that began in October.

U.S. aircraft and other units are deeply involved in supporting Iraqi troops that are carrying out the ground assault.

Abadi spoke at the United States Institute of Peace, a congressionally supported think tank.

Despite recent successes, Abadi cautioned that Iraq faces major challenges in rebuilding the economy, helping displaced families return home and making displaced minorities feel invested in the country.

Some Western experts believe Iraq will remain fractured along ethnic, religious and tribal lines.

"We are proving that Daesh can be killed," Abadi said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

"We are showing ... that we can eliminate this terrorist organization.... And we see an administration that sees what we are doing and gives us support."

The Trump administration initially included Iraq in its travel ban from seven mostly Muslim countries. Officials at the Pentagon and elsewhere argued that Iraq deserved greater U.S. support for its burden in the war against Islamic State.

Iraq was removed from the administration's revised travel ban,  but federal courts have again blocked it.

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