Fuad Sharif Suleman and his family show their US immigrant visas in Erbil after returning to Iraq from Egypt, where they were prevented from boarding a plane to the US. (AFP)
Monday, 6 March 2017
Iraq expressed “deep relief” at US President Donald Trump’s decision to remove Iraq from a list of countries targeted in a US travel ban, the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.
“The decision is an important step in the right direction, it consolidates the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many fields, and at their forefront war on terrorism,” the statement said.
Trump is expected to sign a new executive order on Monday banning travel to the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations after his controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts, a White House source said.
A senior White House official said the new executive order would keep a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Iraq was taken off the list of countries in the original order, issued on Jan. 27, because the Iraqi government had imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants, the official said.
Thousands of Iraqis have fought alongside US troops for years or worked as translators since the US-led invasion in 2003. Many have resettled in the United States following threats for working with US troops.