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No additional US military assistance for Iraq, Obama offers $200m in humanitarian aid

Washington has pledged $200 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq, however, there hasn't been any promise for more military aid. The Iraqi PM did not ask for it during his meeting with Obama, said the White House.

Expressing his faith in the Iraqi leadership, the US president told reporters on Tuesday that Iraqi forces were now better equipped than before to meet the country's security challenges.

"Once Prime Minister Abadi took power ... from that point on, any foreign assistance that is helping to defeat ISIL has to go through the Iraqi government. That's how you respect Iraqi sovereignty," Obama said, referring to the Sunni militant group "Islamic State" (IS) by a different acronym.

Obama also noted that Iraq and the US-led military coalition had been successful in pushing back IS and reclaiming

one-quarter of the territory

that the Islamists had captured in the war-torn country.

The US leader announced $200 million (188 million euros) in additional humanitarian aid to Iraq but didn't say whether his administration would provide Apache helicopters and other ammunition to Baghdad.

The humanitarian assistance is aimed at helping the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by IS advances.

'No request for military aid'

On Monday, Al-Abadi told reporters that the US needed to increase

airstrikes against IS

and provide weapons and training to his country's military.

"We want to see more," he said.

But despite PM Haider al-Abadi's apparent request for more military assistance, the White House said the Iraqi leader did not specifically ask for it during his meeting a day later with Obama at Oval Office.

"The US and our coalition partners remain committed to offering the assistance they need," Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

Iran's cooperation

The two leaders also discussed Iran's involvement in the battle against IS. Shiite militias, which are believed to have Tehran's backing, have been somewhat

effective in rolling back IS advances

in Iraq.

Obama said he hoped to see more cooperation between Iraq and Iran but foreign fighters must fall under the command of the Iraqi government.

"We expect Iran to have an important relationship with Iraq as a close neighbor," he said, adding "it is important for all unified forces to be under control."

Al-Abadi said he would welcome any help in fighting IS, but there shouldn't be any "transgression of Iraq's sovereignty."

shs/jr (Ap, dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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