Trump phones Iraqi PM on travel ban

Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) US President Donald Trump phoned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi amid an increasingly strained bilateral relationship following Trumps executive order travel ban.

Iraq was on the list of seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily banned from entering the US as a result of the controversial order. But according to an official readout of Thursday’s call from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office, the two world leaders may be finding some common ground, ABC News reported on Friday.

“The Prime Minister stressed the importance of a review of the decision on the right of Iraqis to travel to the US and lift Iraq from the list of countries mentioned in the executive order,” read the statement from Al-Abadi’s office.

“And Trump stressed the importance of coordination to find a solution to this issue as soon as possible and that he will direct the US State Department in this regard.”

The Prime Minister’s office said that Trump once again asked that Al-Abadi visit him in the US, although it was not made clear if the invitation was accepted. The US leader also congratulated Al-Abadi on “leading the war on terror”, according to the report.

The readout from the Iraqi side said that Trump and Al-Abadi also discussed strengthening the relationship between the US and Iraq following the executive order.

It was not made clear if the two leaders spoke prior to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimous decision on Thursday that denied the US Department of Justice’s bid for an emergency stay of a lower court’s decision that has temporarily halted Trump’s executive order.

The White House did not provide a readout of the phone call.

–IANS

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