Remove Iraq from travel ban list, PM tells US president

Baghdad: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi asked US President Donald Trump in a phone call to remove his country from a contentious travel ban list, a statement said on Friday.
Iraq is one of seven countries whose citizens are barred from entering the United States for 90 days under an executive order the newly sworn in US president signed on January 27.
The ban was suspended by a lower court a week later and a federal appeals court on Thursday refused to reinstate it but Trump vowed to continue the legal battle for his order to stand.
“The prime minister stressed the importance of a review of the decision on the right of Iraqis to travel to the United States,” Abadi’s office said in a statement after the phone call.
Abadi urged Trump to “lift Iraq from the list of countries mentioned in the executive order,” the statement said. The statement said: “Mr Trump stressed the importance of coordination to find a solution to this issue as soon as possible and that he will direct the US State Department in this regard.”
Washington is a key economic, political and military ally for Baghdad, including in the war it has been waging against the IS group for almost three years.
Abadi had argued when the decree was first issued that the measure, which Trump has billed as an effort to make America safe from “radical terrorists”, was tantamount to punishing those fighting terrorism.
The statement said Abadi had expressed his wish to further develop relations with the United States and Trump had renewed an invitation for him to visit.
16 KILLED: At least 16 people were killed on Friday in carbombings in the eastern section of Mosul in northern Iraq, weeks after it was recaptured from the IS extremist militia, security and health officials said.
The fatalities were 10 civilians and six security personnel, they added.
The attacks took place in three different areas of eastern Mosul that Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led air power, retook from IS last month.
So far, there has been no claim of responsibility for the bombings. IS previously took credit for similar attacks in Iraq. Iraqi forces are bracing themselves for a new offensive aimed at liberating the western part of Mosul that is still under IS’s control.
— AFP/dpa