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Iraq PM says will ask US for more arms, strikes

AFP , Monday 13 Apr 2015
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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Monday that he will use a visit to the United States to seek increased air support and arms deliveries to aid Baghdad's battle against jihadists.

"Number one is a marked increase in the air campaign and the delivery of arms," Abadi told journalists when asked what he wants during a visit to Washington, where he is to meet President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

There has already been an increase, "but we want to see more," he said before boarding his plane.

Abadi also said that "we want strict measures to stop the flow of foreign terrorists to Iraq," and that international efforts are needed to curb oil and antiquities smuggling, by which the jihadists gain funds.

He is expected to request that Iraq be allowed to defer payment for arms purchases, given the country's major shortage of funds due to a decline in oil prices and the cost of its war against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

The United States is leading an international coalition that is carrying out air strikes against IS and also providing arms and training for Iraqi security forces.

The jihadist group led an offensive that overran large parts of Iraq last June.

Multiple Iraqi divisions collapsed in the early days of the jihadist-led drive, but Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have since succeeded in retaking significant territory from IS.

But large parts of two provinces -- Nineveh in the north and Anbar in the west -- remain under IS control.

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