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Iraqi Leader Says Trump Pledged To Accelerate U.S. Effort To Battle IS

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) greets Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi at the White House on March 20.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said U.S. President Donald Trump assured him in their first meeting on March 20 that the United States will accelerate its support for his country's struggle against the Islamic State extremist group.

"I think they are prepared to do more" than the Obama administration, he said.

Obama was reluctant to commit large numbers of U.S. troops to combating IS, although his approach, which relied on training and supporting local forces, has succeeded in pushing the militants out of much of the territory they once held in Iraq.

Abadi said he got the impression that the Trump administration will take a more aggressive approach.

"I think this administration wants to be more engaged in fighting terrorism," he said. "I sense a difference in terms of being head-to-head with terrorism."

Abadi added, however, that military force is not necessarily the most effective tool. "There are better ways for defeating terrorism," he said.

Asked whether he had seen Trump's battle plan against IS, Abadi said: "To be honest, I haven't seen a full plan. I know there is a plan."

Abadi is in Washington this week ahead of a gathering of the coalition fighting Islamic State.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters