Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said after talks with President Donald Trump that the new USA administration appears more focused on the fight against terrorism than its predecessor.
The president was also critical of his predecessor, saying the USA military should not have withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, and critiquing the Iranian nuclear deal.
Afterward, Abadi said he expected U.S. assistance to the Iraqi forces fighting to drive Islamic State fighters from the northern city of Mosul to "accelerate" under Trump more quickly than would have happened under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. "Committing troops is one thing, while fighting terrorism is another thing".
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.
Before leaving the Iraqi capital Baghdad for the afternoon meeting, Abadi said in a video statement, "We are in the last chapter, the final stages to eliminate ISIL militarily in Iraq". "It's a very tough job". I know Mosul is moving along.
Abadi spoke as Iraqi forces made steady progress in seizing back Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from Islamic State, which officials expect will become a more classic insurgency once it loses its last major strongholds.
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"Our main thrust is we have to get rid of ISIS. It will happen. It's happening right now", Trump added, using an acronym for Islamic State. "We're going to get rid of ISIS".
"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.
Abadi is in Washington this week ahead of a gathering of world leaders of a coalition fighting Islamic State.
The Iraqi government had objected after its citizens were included on Trump's travel ban in January which barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority to come into the United States.
Iraq was removed from the revised version of the order following intensive lobbying from Baghdad at the highest levels, a senior United States official told CNN. Both the initial January 27 travel ban and the revised version have been blocked by federal courts.
Meanwhile, in January Trump said there would be no ISIS had the United States kept Iraq's oil following the USA invasion into the country.
Since he started campaigning for the 2016 presidential election, Trump has criticized the Obama administration for backing the JCPOA, also supported by the UK, Germany, Russia, China, and France.