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Iraq's Al-Abadi making in-person appeal to Obama for help

Published:Wednesday | April 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi


Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made an in-person appeal to President Barack Obama yesterday for more help defeating the Islamic State militants, hoping recent gains in the fight will encourage more investment from a war-weary United States (US).

Seven months after al-Abadi's election raised hope in Washington for Iraq's future, he's making his first visit to the Oval Office. Al-Abadi told reporters on Monday that the increase in US airstrikes, weapons deliveries and training have helped roll back Islamic State forces, but he needs greater support from the international coalition to "finish" them. "We want to see more," he said.

potential for more aid

The White House signalled that more aid could be coming. Last week, Vice-President Joe Biden touted momentum in the fight against the Islamic State, and White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday, "If there are specific ideas that Prime Minister Abadi has for stepped-up assistance, then we'll obviously consider them seriously."

"This is a partnership that the United States is obviously invested in," Earnest told reporters. "And our success in working with an inclusive Iraqi government has been important to some of the security gains that Iraq has realised against ISIL in the last few months."

Earlier this month, Iraqi forces and allied Shiite militias, backed by US airstrikes, were able to recapture the city of Tikrit from the Sunni militants in what was the government's first major victory in Iraq's Sunni heartland.