Iraq PM to Trump: Remove my country from travel-ban

Iraq PM to Trump: Remove my country from travel-ban
With Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State for control of Mosul Abadi has described the travel ban as a punishment against those fighting terrorism in coordination with Washington
2 min read
10 February, 2017
Iraqi forces have sustained heavy casualties in Mosul [AFP]

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested US President Donald Trump remove his country from a controversial travel ban list during a phone conversation.

According to a statement released by Abadi's office the Iraqi Prime Minister urged Trump to "lift Iraq from the list of countries mentioned in the executive order" stressing the "importance of a review of the decision on the right of Iraqis to travel to the United States."

According to the travel ban Iraqi nationals - along with nationals from six other Middle Eastern and African states - have been barred from entering the US for 90 days in accordance with an executive order issued by the recently inaugurated president on January 27.

The travel ban has resulted in widespread outrage and condemnation and its rulings were rejected by a federal appeals court on Thursday.

However Trump has vowed to continue fighting legal battles in order to see the order stand.

Baghdad is a key political and economic ally to Washington and has coordinated with the US in ongoing battles against the Islamic State currently focused on the contested northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

When the decree was first issued Abadi said that it amounted to a punishment for those leading the fight against terrorism.

Trump has also angered many Iraqis by claiming that Washington should have seized the country's oil resources before withdrawing its forces in 2011.

Hundreds of Iraqis – many of whom have worked with US military personnel in Iraq, as translators and in other capacities – both in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's toppling and following the emergence of IS have been affected by the ban.

In Friday's statement Abadi adopted a more diplomatic tone expressing a desire to further develop relations with Washington and Trump, renewing an offer for the US President to visit Baghdad.