BAGHDAD—Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Monday expressed “deep relief” by the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to exclude Iraq from the list of countries, whose citizens will be banned from entering the United States.
Trump on Monday signed an executive order banning immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, excluding Iraq from the list of a previous ban.
“The step (excluding Iraq) is a significant step in the right direction, which will consolidate the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many fields, and at the forefront of the war on terrorism,” Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Jamal, said in a statement posted on the ministry’s official website.
White House’s new order, which will take effect on March 16, maintained a ban on nationals of Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Somalia from entering the United States.
“Iraq presents a special case,” said White House in the executive order. “The close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected Iraqi government, (and) the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq…justify different treatment for Iraq.”
The White House also said, since the previous order was issued, the Iraqi government has “expressly undertaken steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal.”
The previous order signed by Trump in January has caused fury in Iraq, where more than 5,000 US troops are deployed to help Iraqi forces in battles against IS militants in Mosul in northern Iraq.