Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Welcome response to removal from revised US travel ban

Published:Tuesday | March 7, 2017 | 3:00 AM

BAGHDAD (AP):

Iraq welcomed its removal from a revised US travel ban yesterday, calling it a "positive message" at a time when American and Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group.

Iraq was among seven Muslim-majority countries whose nationals were temporarily banned from travelling to the United States in an earlier order issued by President Donald Trump in January, which was blocked by the courts.

The White House had said that the earlier ban was needed to prevent would-be terrorists from entering the country. It removed Iraq from the list under pressure from the State Department and the Defense Department, which had noted the close cooperation between the two countries in battling IS militants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said that the revision to the travel ban shows that the two countries have a "real partnership". Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said that it "reinforces the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many areas in the forefront in the fight against terrorism."