January 31, 2017 / 4:40 PM / 9 months ago

Iraq will not retaliate against Trump's visa ban: PM

Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi of Iraq addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq will not retaliate to U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban against Iraqi nationals because it does not want to lose Washington’s cooperation in the war on Islamic State, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday.

When asked at a news conference if he would act on the Iraqi parliament’s vote in favor of retaliation, Abadi said: “We will not do anything of the sort.”

“We are studying (possible) decisions but we are in a battle and we don’t want to harm the national interest,” he added.

The United States provides critical air and ground support to Iraqi troops fighting the militants who overran a third of Iraq in 2014. More than 5,000 U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq.

President Donald Trump on Friday temporarily banned entry to the U.S. entry for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Reporting by Saif Hameed; Writing by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Richard Lough

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