Iraq president expresses ‘shock’ at Trump travel ban
BAGHDAD - President Fuad Masum said Wednesday that his American counterpart Donald Trump's decision to ban Iraqi citizens from entering the United States was "a shock" and called for it to be reviewed.
Masum is the latest in a string of Iraqi officials to condemn Trump's executive order last week barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from US entry for at least 90 days, a move billed as an effort to make America safe from "radical Islamic terrorists".
Iraq's inclusion among "the countries whose citizens are prohibited from travelling to the United States is a shock to us", Masum said in a statement.
He called on the US "to be just to people fighting terrorism with the blood of their sons and their resources on behalf of the whole world, including the United States".
Iraqi forces are more than three months into a massive operation to retake Mosul, the country's last city in which the Islamic State jihadist group holds significant ground.
They have been fighting against IS with the support of a US-led international coalition for more than two years.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made a similar case on Tuesday, saying Trump's travel restrictions punished "people who are sacrificing, who are fighting terrorism".
And Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said: "We reject... the decision".
Iraq's parliament had voted to back reciprocal restrictions on Americans if Washington does not change course.
The travel curbs follow assertions by Trump that the US should have seized Iraq's oil before withdrawing in 2011 and risk alienating a key US ally in the fight against IS.