Obama and Maliki Discuss ‘More Active’ al-Qaeda in Iraq
Washington – US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki have discussed how to counter a “more active” al-Qaeda in the country. But following talks at the White House, nearly two years after the last US soldier left Iraq, Mr Obama did not unveil any new offer of military aid. He stressed the importance of an inclusive and democratic Iraq.
Mr Maliki’s visit to Washington DC, his first since 2011, comes as bloodshed hits a five-year high in Iraq. In a joint statement released by the White House after Friday’s two-hour talks, both the US and Iraq said there was an “urgent” need for additional aid for Iraqi forces. “The Iraqi delegation stressed its desire to purchase US equipment as a means of strengthening long-term institutional ties with the United States,” the statement read.
Mr Maliki has reportedly asked for Apache attack helicopters and other gear from the US. But Mr Obama did not announce any new military aid. The Iraqi prime minister would not specify the details of his request for US assistance, but said Friday’s meeting had been “very positive”. After their private talks, Mr Obama told reporters: “Unfortunately al-Qaeda has still been active and has grown more active recently.
“So we had a lot of discussion about how we can work together to push back against that terrorist organisation that operates not only in Iraq, but also poses a threat to the entire region and to the United States.” Mr Obama also told reporters the US wanted Iraq to pass an election law so Iraqis can discuss their differences politically instead of through violence. (BBC)