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Iraqi prime minister jokes with Trump about wiretaps

21 March 2017

US President Donald Trump will host Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House on Monday.

Trump said he also would address what he described as a "vacuum" that was created when so-called Islamic State (IS) militants took over large swaths of territory in western and northern Iraq.

He has vowed to eradicate "radical Islamic terrorism".

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In front of reporters in the Oval Office, Trump declined to respond to questions about wiretapping, according to a pool report.

Abadi's regime, dominated by the same Muslim Shiite sect as governs Iran, maintains a close relationship with the Iranian government and Iranian fighters are assisting the Iraqi government in the campaign against the Islamic State.

Government forces retook the east side of Mosul in January before setting their sights on the more densely populated west of the city, the last major urban center the IS group holds in Iraq.

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Trump's budget proposal would cut by roughly 30 per cent funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. How Iraq will be impacted by Trump's approach isn't known. In dropping Iraq from the list of nations subject to a 90-day ban on entry to the US, the Trump administration officials cited assurances on the quality of information for vetting Iraqis as well as the military cooperation between the USA and Iraq.

President Donald Trump is welcoming Iraq's prime minister to the White House for their first meeting since Trump assumed office.

"We are in the last chapter, the final stages to eliminate IS militarily in Iraq", he said in a video statement.

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Iraqi prime minister jokes with Trump about wiretaps