WASHINGTON, March 20 (KUNA) -- US President Donald Trump on Monday praised Iraqi forces for doing a "good job" in the fight against the so-called Islamic State and pledged continuing US support of these efforts.
Speaking to reporters after talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi at the White House, he also said that the US military should never have withdrawn from Iraq in 2011.
"Certainly we shouldn't have left. We should never ever have left," Trump said. "A vacuum was created and we discussed what happened."
Thanking Baghdad, Trump said that the Iraqi forces' fight against IS is "not an easy job. It's a very tough job. Your soldiers are fighting hard."
The ongoing military campaign to rid Mosul of IS control was "moving along," Trump said, adding, "we'll will figure something out... We're going to get rid of ISIS."
"A lot of things are different than they were just five or six weeks ago," he said.
Trump also critisised the Iran nuclear deal, signed between Tehran and world powers, including the US, during the former Obama administration.
"One of the things I asked him (Al-Abadi) was why did President Obama sign that agreement for Iran because nobody has been able to figure that one out," Trump said.
For his part, Al-Abadi said that Iraq was "looking forward to more cooperation with the US," adding his government seeks to sign a strategic agreement with Washington in this regard.
He said that Iraq's cooperation with the US was "by choice," adding in addition to being on security, this relationship extends to the economic, energy and cultural spheres.
He went on to thank Trump for removing Iraq from a recently amended travel ban on several nations.
Furthermore, he said the IS group is a "terrorist organisation which threatens the security of the world, as we have seen amid a series of explosions."
According to reporters quoting Al-Abadi's advisors, the premier is later expected to meet with congressional leaders at Capitol Hill.
He will also be attending the two-day counter-IS conference due on March 22. (Pickup previous)