Trump Pledged to Speed Up Support for Iraqi Government Against Daesh

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Emerging from his first meeting with President Donald Trump, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Monday he was assured the USA will accelerate its support for his country's struggle against the Islamic State group.

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.

The U.S. has sent about 5,200 U.S. forces in Iraq, but that number doesn't include a few thousand forces who are there on temporary duty or don't count in the military personnel accounting system for other reasons.

Monday's meeting comes as Iraqi forces continue to consolidate gains against the IS, particularly in the battle for Mosul, which has been under the IS control since June 2014.

At their joint news conference, the Iraqi prime minister said his army was ready to do more to fight terrorism and be more engaged, but he expected more support from the United States and financial contributions from the global community.

The billionaire-turned-president told an Iraqi delegation that he was wondering why Obama supported the deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), further asserting "nobody" knows why.

"One of the things I asked him was why did President Obama sign that agreement for Iran because nobody has been able to figure that one out", Trump said. "Our main thrust is we have to get rid of ISIS", Trump said. "It will happen. It's happening right now", he said.

"The two leaders agreed that the United States and Iraq will pursue a long-term partnership to decisively root out terrorism from Iraq and strengthen the Iraqi military and other key institutions", a White House readout from the talks between Trump and Abadi said. "We shouldn't be derailing the whole thing" or losing focus against ISIS because of clashes among the region's major actors", he said.

Mr Abadi said Mr Trump appeared more enthusiastic about battling Islamist extremists than the previous USA administration had been.

The Iraqis were equally unsettled when Iraq was included in a list of seven Muslim majority countries whose nationals were temporarily banned by the Trump administration from entering the United States. "Maybe someday we'll be able to figure it out".

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