US President Barack Obama will meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on the sidelines of a weekend Group of Seven summit in Germany, the White House said Thursday.
The meeting will allow Obama to discuss the “situation on the ground and our effort to support Iraqi forces,” senior White House aide Ben Rhodes told reporters in a conference call ahead of Obama’s trip.
The United States is leading an international coalition that is conducting air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, while also helping to train Iraqi forces.
But it suffered a major setback May 17 when IS fighters captured the city of Ramadi in Iraq’s Sunni heartland, after its defenders fled.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter publicly questioned the Iraqis’ will to fight, and the US strategy has come under scrutiny.
Abadi was invited to meet with the leaders of the world’s top industrialized powers when they meet Sunday and Monday at a chateau south of Munich.
Also invited were several African leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country and its largest economy.