Baghdad- US President Donald Trump has called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to continue military cooperation and coordination for the purpose of combatting terrorism and defeating ISIS.
A statement issued by Abadi’s press office on Thursday said that the Iraqi premier received a phone call from Trump during which they discussed the consolidation of ties between the two countries in all fields, the victories achieved against ISIS, and the international support to Iraq in the fight against terrorism.
“ISIS’s defeat is imminent,” Abadi told Trump, according to the statement.
Abadi said during his meeting with Trump at the White House earlier this month that he won assurances of greater US support in fighting ISIS militants.
Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres called Thursday for protection of civilians to be the “absolute priority” as he visited Iraq, where hundreds of thousands are caught up in the battle for Mosul city.
Guterres said he would “focus on the dire humanitarian situation on the ground. Protection of civilians must be the absolute priority,” in a post on his official Twitter account.
Guterres met with Abadi following talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and Speaker Salim al-Jabouri.
“Iraq is in the final stages of its fight against terrorism. We are strongly hopeful that the liberation of Mosul will soon be completed,” Guterres said alongside Abadi, according to a copy of his remarks.
Jaafari highlighted the issue of reconstruction in talks with Guterres — a major challenge in areas that have been devastated by heavy fighting to retake them from ISIS.
“Iraq needs a plan similar to the Marshall Plan… to present assistance to Iraqis and support development and overcome the effect of war against (ISIS) terrorist gangs,” Jaafari said, according to his office.
Guterres later travelled to Arbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
More than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since the operation to oust ISIS began last month.
But the UN said earlier this month that some 600,000 civilians were still in west Mosul, 400,000 of them trapped in siege-like conditions in the Old City.
Remaining in the city has posed deadly danger to residents, with the UN human rights office saying more than 300 civilians were killed in west Mosul in a little over a month.